A public school teacher from Chicago claims that in-person learning during the Covid-19 pandemic allows “nice white parents” to kill black families.
Mike Friedberg published an essay in the Education Post, where he said the city is catering to white families by reopening schools during a pandemic.
The title of the essay is “Are We Going to Let ‘Nice White Parents’ Kill Black and Brown Families?”
“A new COVID-19 strain is more contagious than ever,” Friedberg writes. “The Trump administration’s sheer neglect in the face of this deadly pandemic is enraging. Federal inaction has cost lives, and we are far from getting back to a daily normal life. Schools are no exception to this situation. Given the plans to offer vaccines to teachers over the next several weeks, it does not make sense now to force children and staff back into the building.”
He continued, “As the reopening debate gets hotter, we are seeing a new breed of ‘nice white parents’ emerge. The parents who wished to open school buildings are disproportionately white. In meeting after meeting, I have witnessed black and Latinx parents voice concerns.”
According to recent findings from the CDC, “students and teachers may be able to safely return to in-person instruction, even in communities with widespread coronavirus infection” as long as safety protocols like masking, social distancing, and proper disinfection protocols are used.
But Friedberg argued that many Chicago-area schools are not “adequately equipped to take all the necessary preventative and protective measures.”
“Here in Chicago, I have spoken with scores of teachers who do not have adequate HVAC systems in their buildings,” he said. “Some teachers were given air purifiers that only cover 500 square feet, vastly smaller than most classrooms. … If we open schools in communities with higher positivity rates, especially when those schools are not adequately supplied with protective measures, the risk to staff, students, and families is much higher.”
“I do not want to risk my students’ lives or my own,” he added.
“Students can still learn remotely and have an engaging, rigorous curriculum,” Friedberg claimed. “As an instructor, this is what I’m doing for my students, including focusing on research-based student choice activities. As a parent, that is what I am witnessing for my own children.”
“Are we really at a point where not wanting our students to die, and not wanting to die ourselves, is a point of debate?” he asked. “This is completely absurd. We are putting the voices of white parents above black and brown parents, as well as teachers and all school staff, including disproportionately women of color.”
“As a teacher, I fear for my own life and the lives of my students and their families. I can’t teach from the grave, nor can kids learn from there. If we do not speak up, nice white parents will get us killed,” Friedberg concluded.