WTF: July 8, 2020

We don't need no education. But we need sports?

One thing on every American's mind right now is school. I mean except for homeschoolers who are probably having more than a little schadenfreude at the moment. But what's going to happen with school? Long story short: No one fucking knows. But the President, who consistently fails to see anything that doesn't directly impact him, just wants things to look normal in time for November... no matter how many die. We are now over 3,000,000 cases, 130,000 deaths in the US, the "death panels" that Sarah Palin warned us would be necessary under Obamacare are being formed in ERs and ICUs across the South and the West of the country where hospitals are overrun with COVID-19 patients, but this story bores Trump, so apparently it is time to move on. So let's just send them all back to school...

Florida Man & K-12

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis orders Florida K-12 to open -- I mean if "Florida Man" has taught us anything, it's that they aren't really accomplishing much there anyway. So it does make one wonder why, in a state with a raging pandemic, one would determine their best move is to unilaterally send the kids back to school. I guess that would keep them off the streets, where, if they go out for a jog, there is the possibility of coming across a severed head. So there's that.

Miami Herald: Despite rising COVID-19 cases in Florida, state orders public schools to reopen in August.

The Atlantic: A Better Fall is Possible

At the beginning of the pandemic, we made a trade-off: Sacrifice school and day care, with women mostly picking up the slack, for public health. With little known about COVID-19, and knowing that many other respiratory illnesses are spread by children, this was a tough, unfair, but decent emergency bargain. In the Northeast, these sacrifices, alongside the efforts of health-care and essential workers, and the unemployment of millions—all of which have been borne disproportionately by people of color—have led to successfully driving down case counts.

But all of this progress can be reversed if we continue reopening as planned. Bustling bars and shops mean cases will likely rise again. And, because of the way this particular virus works, we won’t know we have a disaster on our hands until it is far too late to fix things easily, and many will die. Amid this, school districts across the country seem to be lumbering toward reopening in the fall by adhering to exactly what they have done in the past, COVID-19-style. That typically means school as we know it—but “hybrid,” with students taking classes in school part-time and online part-time from home. This maintains our demand for maternal sacrifice, and does not take into consideration the different needs and risk profiles by students’ age.

Everything fun about college is canceled.

Some of the Ivies have plans... but, to be frank, are they good?? Or is the bar just so, so, so low, this seems like wisdom we should embrace? I mean the danger lies more in living situations and everything that happens outside the classroom, so I am not sure that bringing even a portion of students back to campus but having all classes online is not actually the opposite of a good idea. Like taking money from Jeffrey Epstein.

CNN: Harvard and Princeton announce plans to bring back students for the fall semester

What about college professors?

New York Times: Colleges Face Rising Revolt from Professors

ICE also has some plans, they want to throw out foreign students if their schools are teaching entirely online.

NPR: ICE: Foreign Students Must Leave The U.S. if Their Colleges Go Online-Only This Fall

NPR WHYY.ORG: ‘I thought it was a hoax’: Pa. students, universities respond to Trump restrictions for international visas

In the 2018-2019 school year, Pennsylvania universities enrolled more than 51,000 international students. Nationally, the number of international students was already expected to fall by 25% this year due to COVID-19, according to the American Council on Education, down from more than one million students last year. The anticipated drop in international enrollment will cost U.S. schools an estimated $3 billion, according to the Association of International Educators.

It’s the latest challenge in an already bad year for higher education, where many Pennsylvania schools are already facing budget shortfalls amounting to tens of millions of dollars due to the pandemic, and the challenge of delivering curricula on new platforms.

Are we really going to keep pretending that there will be a football season?

There has long been a tension between athletics and academics. Maybe now is a good time to really think about how that works, the mission of education and the outsize importance of athletics unique to the US.

Forbes: Theater of The Absurd & The Immoral: College Football 2020

The silence of college presidents and trustees in the face of such insane behavior is just as deafening as it was during public consumption of the first round of unsuccessful stories. Thus, we no longer think higher education simply has lost its mind, as we wrote two weeks ago on Forbes.com. We take it back. It’s worse: Higher education has lost its mind and its morality. Why? Because the monetary fruits of commercialized college sports have trumped the integrity of higher education, its obligation to provide a safe educational environment and its duty to demonstrate respect for human life.

But it is even more than that; we are morally injured because of those students that colleges and universities choose to place at risk. They didn’t pick the school’s national merit scholars or seniors about to graduate or graduate students conducting important research to be the guinea pigs to test campus openings. Whom did they choose? Who are these poor kids who were going to be financially better off or safer on campus than at their homes (a trope for not in the suburbs)? When are we going to tell Mr. and Mrs. Public that at the top 65 Division I football schools, football teams that are 46% Black are now practicing and risking Covid-19 cases so they can be prepared to entertain a student body that is 61% white and no more than 5% Black—and that these decisions are being made by a group of athletic directors and football coaches that is 75% and 80% white, respectively. This is why this latest offense is not just about choosing money over the lives of students. It is a continuation of a longstanding and sordid history of college revenue sports exploiting athletically talented Black athletes. We join in the refrain of Black Lives Matter, lamenting that college sports belongs in the same conversation as American policing, voter suppression and confederate monuments.

The Bulwark: College Football in a Pandemic—and What It Could Mean for the Election

“What I’m really worried about is, campus by campus, across the country, students coming back on the campus and spreading [the virus] like wildfire in their living situations,” said Paul Pottinger, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Washington, in an interview with Yahoo Sports. A member of a COVID-19 advisory committee to the Pac-12 conference, Pottinger said that “unless we get past that, unless we can break that cycle, then it’s hard to imagine campuses even opening up for the fall—for any purpose, much less for athletics.”

How this situation will play out is anyone’s guess right now, as the decision brings together a treacherous combination of conflicting interests: schools, conferences, health care experts, cities, counties, state legislatures, national TV media conglomerates, TV advertisers, and shady college football boosters in the background with cash in hand.

And then there’s this: How might the decision about whether and how college football gets played this fall affect the national presidential election?

So what does this all mean? We have a President who wants infinite authority and no responsibility and the utter lack of leadership at the top is making everything exponentially more difficult. No one has the answers or even a plan that makes sense and the admin is even fighting with the CDC over reopening guidelines. No one knows what school is going to be in Aug/September and it is already July 7, but some, those concerned more with $$$ than education or students, are still hoping for a football season no matter how indefensible and amoral that is. And recouping that money may turn into a necessity for some institutions who stand to lose millions from foreign students who will now be sent home from the US in another self-sabotaging wave of xenophobic fervor.

More on skool in 'Murica

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