Somewhat surprisingly, the New York Times this past week published a letter critical of the city’s schools. And it was from a middle schooler.
For Ms. Veronique Mintz, the coronavirus lockdown has been a blessing for her education as she’s actually able to learn something.
“I have been doing distance learning since March 23 and find that I am learning more, and with greater ease, than when I attended regular classes,” Ms. Mintz writes. “I can work at my own pace without being interrupted by disruptive students and teachers who seem unable to manage them.”
Mintz says her (in-person) classes are full of peers “talking out of turn,” “destroying classroom materials,” and “disrespecting teachers.” They “blurt out answers during tests” and often “push, kick, [and] hit one another.”
There’s also too much so-called “collaborative learning” in school; the problem with this is those who actually care about the work (and the grade) have to clamp down on misbehaving group members, and “coax” apathetic students into contributing.
Distance learning gives me more control of my studies. I can focus more time on subjects that require greater effort and study. I don’t have to sit through a teacher fielding questions that have already been answered. I can still collaborate with other students, but much more effectively. I am really enjoying FaceTiming friends who bring different perspectives and strengths to the work; we challenge one another and it’s a richer learning experience.
Mintz says “you might think [she’s] joking” about all this, but anyone remotely familiar with contemporary public education is probably sitting there nodding in vigorous agreement. Not that folks like NYC schools chief Richard Carranza actually care; they’re too busy blaming things like Western Civilization and white supremacy for the problems in education today.
Indeed, student misbehavior, especially among minorities, is seen as a manifestation of white (supremacist) teacher cultural mores. Districts hire “experts” to re-educate their mostly white teaching forces about their “privilege,” and how it affects their (racist) perceptions and actions toward non-white students.
It should come as no surprise, then, that students who are bullied or just fed up with constant classroom misbehavior are some of cyber learning’s biggest proponents. Polls have shown parents and educators dislike race-based discipline policies, and teachers in some of the most progressive areas in the country are increasingly fed up with such measures … and seemingly unending misbehavior.
As a result, are these stories a surprise?
In this, COVID-19 may be a blessing. It has shown a viable educational alternative to those who previously may have been unaware of it. And there won’t be any going back.