Here’s some stuff you might like.
Are government schools essential?
The vast majority of Americans in January 2020 surely would have agreed with the claim that government schools are essential. Government schools are supposed to be the great equalizer in society. They’re supposed to give kids from bad families or poor neighborhoods at least a shot at climbing the socioeconomic ladder. We are told that schools are the backbone of our community, that you can tell the health of a place by the health of its schools. In 2019, Oregonians were told that government schools were so essential and so woefully underfunded that the state needed to raise business taxes, even on businesses that aren’t profitable.
Just three months ago, Governor Kate Brown, in refusing to delay implementation of the new taxes in spite of the worst economic meltdown in Oregon history, said,
“It’s more important than ever that Oregon preserve schools and other essential services, especially for vulnerable Oregonians who have had their lives and livelihoods threatened during this pandemic.” (Emphasis added).
This week we learned that government schools aren’t so essential after all, when Governor Brown announced metrics for reopening schools that make it very unlikely most schools in Oregon will be able to reopen to in-person attendance in September. Her edict (I don’t know what else to call this – it isn’t an order or administrative rule or statute but putatively carries the power of law) apparently applies also to private schools, even though it does not say so explicitly.
Vulnerable Oregonians are learning that their state views in-person attendance at a government school is less essential than the following in-person activities, all of which are either explicitly lawful or tolerated and even endorsed by state officials:
Getting a haircut in a salon or barbershop
Getting an ill-advised tattoo or piercing (they’re all ill-advised) wherever one gets those
Going to the dentist or massage therapist
Buying groceries, hardware, or just about anything from a retail store
Going to a strip club
Protesting, shoulder-to-shoulder, night after night as part of a “Wall of Moms” in front of the federal courthouse in Portland, until other protest groups determine that the Moms, founded by white women, suffer from “anti-blackness” and are off the cool kid list
Joining any of the other mass protests that have been occurring daily in Portland for over 60 days
The fact is, almost all businesses are allowed to serve customers in-person in most of Oregon, subject to myriad guidances regarding distancing, masking and other safety measures. If Oregon gave schools the same status as businesses from Fred Meyer to restaurants to my law firm, they’d be open to in-person customers but look and operate differently than they used to.
The available science indicates that kids, especially young kids, don’t easily get Covid and when they do it tends to be very mild. Moreover, they very infrequently transfer the disease to adults with whom they’re in close contact. The CDC and none other than Bill Gates are urging schools to reopen to in-person attendance.
So why are schools closed while Fred Meyer is open? Because public sector unions, including and perhaps especially teachers unions, run our state. Teachers unions and their allies told the Governor the day before she issued her metrics that they don’t want to open schools to in-person attendance until there are no new cases in a given county for 14 straight days. Think about that. No new cases. Even once we (hopefully) have a vaccine, there will probably be some new cases, just as there are new flu cases every year in spite of the widespread availability of a flu vaccine.
The Oregon Education Association, a teacher’s union, had given the Governor’s re-election campaign $190,000 by a month prior to election day 2018, and almost certainly more after that. When the Governor meets with unionized teachers, she is not so much meeting with constituents as meeting with representatives of one of her largest investors – people without whom she may not have been re-elected. Those “vulnerable Oregonians” the Governor expressed concern for in April didn’t stand a chance.
COVID-19 has exposed a lot about how things work, and mostly how things don’t work, in America and in Oregon. Oregonians may now see that government schools are essential only as a means of funneling financial benefits to the Governor’s political supporters, with education being a positive and desirable but ultimately non-essential byproduct of that process.
Oregon’s chronically under-performing schools have long been evidence of that fact, but inertia and obfuscation by those who profit from the system have blunted reform efforts. As Oregonians prepare to once again act as in-home tutors for a substandard online learning experience, while paying every cent in taxes they would pay for in-person instruction (and the ability to go to work), they may, and should, reconsider whether they and their kids are receiving good value from our current system.
Should we delay the November election?
In the 2nd quarter of 2020, did the U.S. economy shrink more than in any quarter in history?
Finally, justice for Short dudes
As a person of relative Shortness (I’m 5’8″), I am well-acquainted with America’s systemic discrimination against Short dudes. If you’re tall and you don’t know what I’m talking about, of course you don’t, because you live in a society in which tallness is the unquestioned norm. In my upcoming book “Tall Fragility,” I will explore the need for tall people to acknowledge and examine their own inherent biases against Short people. You’ll want to check it out. It’s gonna be really good.
Anyway, according to one study, the coronavirus being a virus and not a person enmeshed in a society with tall privilege at its foundation, might infect tall dudes at twice the rate of Short dudes. One theory is that coronavirus floats in the air and because tall people breathe air in the stratosphere or something they’re exposed to more of the virus. Like I wrote above, the virus is telling us a lot about ourselves, and it might just be telling us that it’s ok to be Short.
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What I do:
EagerLaw PC – A business and real property law firm in Bend, Oregon.
Insite LGA Corp. – A campaign consulting, strategic communications and local government monitoring firm.
Waste Alert – Local government monitoring for the solid waste and recycling industry.
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