West Coast States’ Failure to Reopen Schools Is a Disaster

Sasha Abramsky:

Up and down the West Coast, millions of children in some of the country’s largest cities have had no in-person education since last March. In Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, and myriad other cities, there is precious little evidence the public schools will be reopening for most kids before the summer holidays. Meanwhile, in many of those same cities, private schools have been providing in-person classes during much of the pandemic, and wealthier suburban public school districts are finalizing plans to reopen in the spring.

The result of this extraordinary shutdown is that low-income, special-needs, and ESL kids in the three coastal states—which pride themselves on their progressive politics—have been left behind. In refusing to go back to classrooms in these urban hubs, teachers’ unions increasingly risk a public backlash. And for the coastal governors, this is a political nightmare. For, in failing to knock heads together to get the teachers’ unions and school district administrations to come to agreements, and in not securing the funds to properly ventilate classrooms—or move them outdoors, in a region with weather hospitable to months of outdoor learning—and reduce class sizes, the three West Coast governors are, by default, abetting this tragedy.

When Donald Trump was in charge of the country and political action around the pandemic was so skewed by his mismanagement and the MAGA movement’s refusal to take public health seriously, it made sense for states and teachers’ unions to be extremely cautious about reopening school. For so many people, Trump and his inane approach to public health made everything black and white: Conservatives too often claimed, and acted as if, the pandemic was a big brouhaha over nothing; progressives were inclined to embrace any and all restrictive response aimed at slowing disease transmission.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.