Archives for category: Health

It has become traditional at the end of the year to pay tribute to those who died during the year. Usually, they are famous or celebrities or both.

In this post, John Merrow pays tribute to educators (or people important in the field) who died in 2021.

He begins by paying tribute to the more than 1,000 educators who lost their lives to COVID.

He singles out nine people, “all of whom cared deeply about America’s youth and public education.”

Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, former president of Brown University, and former president of the New York Public Library. I endorse John’s admiration for Vartan. I was on the board of the NYPL when he was selected, and he did indeed save a great public institution from bankruptcy, in large part by wooing great socialites, like Mrs. Vincent Astor, to give generously.

He paid tribute also to bell hooks, James Loewen (author of Lies My Teacher Told Me), Shirley McBay, Robert Moses, Richard Robinson, Eli Broad, Denis Doyle, and George M. Strickler Jr.

As you (and John) might anticipate, I take issue with his characterization of Eli Broad as someone who “cared deeply about America’s youth and public education.” I am sorry that Eli died, and I express my sympathy to his wife and family, but I disagreed that he “cared deeply about America’s youth and public education.” He invested many millions in “training” urban superintendents to share his philosophy of top-down management and his belief that schools with low test scores should be closed, no matter how much parents, students, and staff protested. Many of the “Broadies,” as they were known, were complete failures. He devoted many millions to privatization of public schools, in Los Angeles and in cities across the nation. He selected an incompetent Broadie to run the bankrupt Detroit public schools, who increased the district’s deficit. He poured millions into Teach for America, to send inexperienced, ill-prepared teachers into the nation’s neediest classrooms.

John says he was critical of Eli’s passion for charter schools, and it was not surprising that Eli ignored his criticism. Eli was arrogant and believed that he was always right. I can’t find any evidence that he “cared deeply about America’s children” and for some reason, although both he and his wife were graduates of the public schools of Detroit, he was utterly contemptuous of public schools. He did not “care deeply” about public education. He cared deeply about turning public dollars over to private management.

So, thank you to John Merrow, for honoring the educators and advocates who died in 2021. He needed a different category for Eli Broad. Now, what would that be? Billionaires who thought they knew how to redesign American education to make it more like the corporate sector?

This statement by a student was published anonymously at Reddit. He wanted to explain what is happening in his school in regards to COVID. The situation, as he puts it, is “beyond control.” There are many absences, students as well as teachers. There is very little learning going on. The writer makes clear that he hates remote learning, but given the conditions in the school, he thinks remote learning is preferable to no learning.

The article has created quite a buzz. It has thus far received more than 5,000 comments, mostly from other students, reporting on their schools, but also from teachers. Meanwhile, the new Mayor, Eric Adams, assures the public that all is well.

The statement begins like this:

I’d like to preface this by stating that remote learning was absolutely detrimental to the mental health of myself, my friends, and my peers at school. Despite this, the present conditions within schools necessitates a temporary return to remote learning; if not because of public health, then because of learning loss.

A story of my day:

– I arrived at school and promptly went to Study Hall. I knew that some of my teachers would be absent because they had announced it on Google Classroom earlier in the day. At our school there is a board in front of the auditorium with the list of teachers and seating sections for students within study hall: today there were 14 absent teachers 1st period. There are 11 seatable sections within the auditorium … THREE CLASSES sat on the stage. Study hall has become a super spreader event — I’ll get to this in a moment.

– Second period I had another absent teacher. More of the same from 1st period. It was around this time that 25% of kids, including myself, realized that there were no rules being enforced outside of attendance at the start of the period, and that cutting class was ridiculously easy. We left — there was functionally no learning occurring within study hall, and health conditions were safer outside of the auditorium. It was well beyond max capacity.

Open the link and read the rest.

Some schools are managing very well with in-person learning. Others are not. Schools cannot make up for “learning loss” if there is no instruction going on.

An important point to bear in mind. For everyone, this is an unprecedented time. We are in the midst of a global pandemic. None of us has lived through one before. No one knows what will happen a week or a month or six months from now. We follow the science, protect health and life as best we can, don’t take risks, and hope it ends soon. Odds are COVID will become less virulent, manageable with vaccines, and fade into the long list of diseases from which we must protect ourselves. Maybe next winter, the doctors will remind us to get a flu shot and a COVID shot. Meanwhile, we do the best we can.

Jack Hassard, retired teacher of science teachers, pays close attention to facts and science.

Here he presents the facts about who is getting infected with COVID.

He writes:

Here are two charts from the CDC that we can use to answer that question. Unvaccinated people are 5 – 10 times more likely to get infected than vaccinated people. They are also 14 – 20 times more likely to die from COVID.

Open the post to see the charts.

I sometimes get comments from people who claim that they are waiting for evidence that the vaccines work. The other day I read a news story about a married couple who died of COVID on the same day. They were unvaccinated. The husband said before he died that he was ”doing research” about the vaccines.

The two charts in this post should end the hesitancy of anti-vaxxers. But it won’t..

Have a happy, HEALTHY New Year!

Get vaccinated if you haven’t already, although I can’t believe that any reader of this blog would not be double vaccinated and boosted by now. Wear an N95 or KN95 mask. (Here is advice from the New York Times about how to buy high-quality N95 masks online.) My friends tell me that this is the N95 mask used by nurses at Mt.Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has boasted that she is unvaccinated, but news came out last week that she owns stock in three of the four major vaccine manufacturers. At least we can be assured that she’s not fighting vaccines for her own financial benefit. Greene has repeatedly defied rules requiring masking when in the House of Representatives, and she’s so far racked up $80,000 in fines deducted from her salary for failing to wear a mask. She says the federal public health rules are “tyrannical,” “communist,” “authoritarian,” and “unconstitutional.”

This is the kind of ideological insanity that’s fueling the longevity of the pandemic. If you know people like her, avoid them until the danger is past.

Be careful.

You can’t be happy unless you are healthy.

Be healthy. Be happy.

I want you all with me in 2022.

Happy New Year!

Diane

Sometimes I think our nation has time-traveled back to the 1950s, when demented people made demented demands of the public schools and accused them of “indoctrinating” children with “socialist” or “Communist” or other labels. The crazies are back, as Billy Townsend reports from his town of Lakeland, Florida. These crazies want to protect their children from seeing certain dangerous words, specifically, “anus” and “bladder.”

Billy begins his post:

You would think that Polk County’s so-called County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF) would welcome inclusion of anuses in school curriculum. 

After all, Steve Maxwell and Jimmy Nelson and Hannah Peterson and the other “leaders” of CCDF have been very supportive of anuses in the last year — particularly those anuses who tried to overturn the presidential election and who cheered on the Capitol Lynch Mob. 

Back in May, the CCDF even made one of those anuses — convicted felon and coup advocate Michael Flynn — the guest of honor at some big local event/fundraiser. A fuller account of CCDF’s scandalous flirtation with Capitol Lynch Mob-supporting anuses can be found here.

Given the CCDF’s celebration of figurative anuses, I find it curious that a number of them showed up to yell at School Board members Tuesday night about biological anuses and bladders, or least clinical diagrams of them. 

As near as I can tell, the CCDFers thought they had some sort of gotcha when they found a 6th grade health curriculum diagram labeled “the reproductive system” that had the “anus” and “bladder” labeled. That’s it. Just identified and labeled. There was no hint of sexual content — beyond the clinical “reproductive system” label….

Excited by the words “anus” and “bladder,” a number of CCDFers berated the School Board Tuesday night — over and over and over again — about “anal sex,” which they clearly think about far more than 6th graders do. 

See this dude for an example, starting about 58:30 of the board video hearing, linked here. Paraphrase: was this anatomical diagram with an “anus” and “bladder” labeled on it a secret coded nod to “homosexual behavior?…”

“Bladder?” Is bladdering a thing? 

I guess I’m just an old school, traditional, 26-year married, sexually-sheltered man; because I can’t figure out, mechanically, where the bladder fits into the CCDF sex fantasies. I suppose I could ask the CCDF, as curriculum experts, to explain their sexualization of the bladder to me so I could understand it. But … I really don’t wanna. 

The anti-choice anus people think they own your kids’ education

So, just go ahead and label the drawing “reproductive and excretion system” and/or “the plumbing” if your mind rushes off to weird sex images when you see the words “anus” and “bladder” written down on a clinical anatomy diagram in a 6th grade curriculum packet. 

But, in that case, you also might consider intensive therapy. Normal people and parents don’t suffer from that pathology. 

And yes, normal parents, this handful of anus people want to control what your kids are allowed to encounter and learn in school. They want to dominate you and your child with their anal sex fantasy talking points. That’s not a joke. Not remotely.

From bladders to Beloved, they think they own your kids’ public spaces and the content they can engage in a classroom. These book-banning, sex-obsessed charlatans are the most fervent anti-choice force in education today.

Two of these anus people are already running against lifetime teacher and public education warrior Sarah Fortney in 2022 School Board re-election campaign. Another anus person is running for a different seat. So expect to hear a lot of talk about anuses in education in the coming year.

Open the link and read more about the anus people of Lakeland, Florida.

In an interview with disgraced ex-FOX News pundit Bill O’Reilly, Trump admitted that he was fully vaccinated and had received the booster as well. O’Reilly too is vaccinated.

Former President Donald Trump said he received a Covid-19 booster shot, revealing the news to former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Sunday during one of their “History Tour” live events.

O’Reilly also confirmed he received a booster shot, though neither said which one they received. null

The crowd began to boo Trump after he said he had gotten his booster shot, though the former president discouraged the jeers.

When the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman asked a Trump spokesperson why he changed his message on the vaccine and boosters, she received a handwritten note, signed “Donald.“ The first four words were underlined, according to the photo Haberman posted on Twitter.

“Must tell the truth — and very proud to have produced the 3 vaccines so quickly — million of lives saved worldwide — Best wishes Donald,” the note said.

While there has been opposition to vaccinations among some conservatives — just 60 percent of Republicans are vaccinated, compared to 91 percent of Democrats, according to The New York Times — Trump has touted his administration’s role in developing the vaccine…

While Trump reiterated his opposition to vaccine mandates, he said to his supporters that when they doubt the vaccine’s efficacy and safety, “you’re playing right into their hands.”

(The Pfizer vaccine was not funded by Operation Warp Speed.)

Nonetheless, Trump’s admission that he has received three shots might persuade some of his followers to take the shots, and that’s good for everyone. Maybe he realized that a disproportionate number of Trumpers were refusing the vaccine and putting their lives at risk. The more people refuse the shots, the longer the pandemic will go on and on.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has made himself the face of the anti-vaccination movement, embarrassing his family. His book attacking Dr. Fauci is at the top of the Amazon nonfiction bestseller list, and his foundation has raised millions of dollars. Even before the pandemic, prominent members of his family wrote a public letter criticizing his anti-vaccine views, which were spreading “dangerous misinformation.” How much worse they must feel now!

But when he threw a party, Politico reported, the guests were required to be vaccinated.

Kennedy blamed it on his wife, a likely story. This is akin to “the dog ate my homework.”

What a shame to see this man sullying his family name, although some might say there were plenty of others sullying it before him. But their private peccadillos fade in comparison to a man who urges the public not to protect themselves against a deadly virus.

This is what Politico posted:

TALES OF AN ANTI-VAXXER — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is one of the most prominent anti-vaxxers in the country. So it came as a surprise when an invitation to a holiday party at his home in California last week urged attendees to be tested or vaccinated beforehand, two people familiar with the matter told Daniel Lippman.

When we called up Kennedy for comment, he pinned it on his better half, actress Cheryl Hines of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” fame. Kennedy said the party was for her entertainment industry friends and cast members, and he was unaware of what the e-vite invitation said before the day of the party.

“I guess I’m not always the boss at my own house,” Kennedy told Lippman. There was also no effort to verify vaccination or testing status of the attendees before entering, he said. (Hines didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

Just this week, Kennedy was the subject of a major AP profile titled “How a Kennedy built an anti-vaccine juggernaut amid COVID-19.” The article reported that the revenue of his charity, Children’s Health Defense, more than doubled in 2020 to $6.4 million. Last month, he released his new book, “The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health,” which continues to be a best-seller on Amazon.

Much to the surprise of the millions of people who admired Robert Kennedy, his son who bears his name has become one of the nation’s leading anti-vaxxers, sometimes allying himself with the bottom fishers of the far right.

The AP reported:

While many nonprofits and businesses have struggled during the pandemic, Kennedy’s anti-vaccine group has thrived. An investigation by The Associated Press finds that Children’s Health Defense has raked in funding and followers as Kennedy used his star power as a member of one of America’s most famous families to open doors, raise money and lend his group credibility. Filings with charity regulators show revenue more than doubled in 2020, to $6.8 million.

Since the pandemic started, Children’s Health Defense has expanded the reach of its newsletter, which uses slanted information, cherry-picked facts and conspiracy theories to spread distrust of the COVID-19 vaccines. The group has also launched an internet TV channel and started a movie studio. CHD has global ambitions. In addition to opening new U.S. branches, it now boasts outposts in Canada, Europe and, most recently, Australia. It’s translating articles into French, German, Italian and Spanish, and it’s on a hiring spree…

As Children’s Health Defense has worked to expand its influence, experts said, it has targeted its false claims at groups that may be more prone to distrust the vaccine, including mothers and Black Americans. It’s a strategy that experts worry has deadly consequences during a pandemic that has killed more than 5 million people, when misinformation has been deemed a threat to public health. The death toll in the United States hit 800,000 this week, and nearly a third of those people have died since vaccines became available to all adults in the U.S. Unvaccinated people are 14 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than those who get the shot, according to the CDC.

As vaccines have become a wedge political issue, Kennedy’s opposition to the shot has at times brought him close to anti-democracy forces on the right who have made common cause with the anti-vaccine movement. The scion of the country’s most prominent Democratic family has appeared at events that pushed the lie that the 2020 election was stolen and associated with people who have celebrated or downplayed the violent Jan. 6. attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Encouraging people not to get vaccinated in the midst of a global pandemic that has killed more than 800,000 Americans and millions of people around the world is downright disgraceful. People who listen to this Kennedy are risking their lives.

Steve Ruis posed an interesting suggestion in a comment yesterday. What if Democrats tricked Republicans into fighting vaccines and masks?

He wrote:

Maybe we should approach this using the mechanisms of the GOP. Spread the rumor that the anti-vax/anti-mask campaigns were created by liberals to deliberately expose GOP voters to the deadly disease. GOP voters are known to be older and more likely to die if they get the disease, so they have been targeted with these fake news campaigns.

Of course! Qui bono when diehard conservatives drop like flies from the COVID?

What if Steve is right?

What if it was undercover Democrats who persuaded Trump voters that masking and vaccines are for sissies and that real Americans, real men and women, don’t wear masks and never get vaccinated?

What sane Republican would want conservative families to fight against public health measures?

The entire Trump family is vaccinated, but that means nothing to the anti-vaxxers.

What kind of mind control has convinced them that it is fine for Trump and Melania to get the shot, but they don’t need it?

Even Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar are ridiculing the vaccine. They were tricked too.

The Republican base is supplying the great majority of COVID deaths.

When will they figure out that they were hoaxed?

If you don’t know the work of Jitu Brown, this is a good time to inform yourself. Jitu Brown has worked for many years as a grassroots organizer in Chicago. He wants families and communities to be able to advocate for themselves, and he trains them to do it. He ardently opposes school closings and privatization, methods of ”reform” that are imposed on communities of color by the powerful. He led the successful hunger strike that blocked the closing of the Walter S. Dyett High School, forcing Mayor Rahm Emanuel to rescind the closing and to reopen the refurbished high school. Out of his work in Chicago, Brown led the creation of the Journey for Justice Alliance, which has chapters in 36 cities. J4J strongly supports the establishment of community schools that meet the needs of communities and build networks of families and communities.

MEDIA ADVISORY TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7TH 10:00 AM ET


AFT’S RANDI WEINGARTEN, NEA’S BECKY PRINGLE, U.S. SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, CONGRESSMAN BOWMAN (NY-16), JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE’S JITU BROWN TO JOIN EDUCATION EQUITY COALITION AT PRESS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE NEW COALITION


National Leaders Back ‘Equity or Else’ Campaign and
Push for Biden Budget Initiative: $440 Million for Community Schools


(WASHINGTON, D.C) – On Tuesday, December 7, 10 a.m. ET, the American Federation of Teachers president, Randi Weingarten; National Education Association president, Becky Pringle; U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD; Congressman Jamaal Bowman, NY-16; Journey for Justice Alliance national director, Jitu Brown; and Schott Foundation for Public Education president, Dr. John Jackson will join national justice and education union leaders to hold a press conference in support of the “Equity or Else” campaign to announce a brand new commission, and amplify its strong support for President Biden’s education budget which will announce a groundbreaking increase of 41 percent for school funding in his proposed FY2022 budget. This Equity Commission will engage municipalities and the federal government to inform government officials at every level on how to create investments and policies that transform quality of life for all Americans, with a focus on equity.


Journey for Justice sits at the helm of the coalition that has been pivotal in shaping President Biden’s agenda on education, especially around community schools. The Equity or Else campaign is a coalition of leaders and organizers from different quality-of-life areas, including education, housing, health care, environment/climate justice, youth investment and food production and delivery, to promote education on how inequity impacts these areas and the grassroots solutions they have organized.

The coalition includes: The Alliance for Educational Justice, The Center for Popular Democracy, National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression, Dignity in Schools Campaign, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, Appetite for Change, Clean Water Action, White Coats for Black Lives, National Nurses United and Black Lives Matter at School.


WHAT: News Conference with National Education and Justice Leaders on President Biden’s Budget Proposal and Brand New Equity or Else Commission


WHO:
● U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD
● Congressman Jamaal Bowman, NY-16
● Becky Pringle, president, National Education Association
● Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers
● Dr. John Jackson, president, Schott Foundation for Public Education
● Jitu Brown, national director, Journey for Justice Alliance
● Zakiyah Ansari, Alliance for Quality Education, state advocacy director
***

PLEASE EMAIL MAYA.HIXSON@GMAIL.COM TO RSVP*** WHEN: 10:00 AM ET, Tuesday, December 7, 2021

WHERE: The National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC (Vax card or Negative COVID Test Required)


Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/J4JAlliance

FURTHER BACKGROUND: The Schott Foundation’s national Opportunity to Learn Network, in partnership with the Journey for Justice Alliance’s Equity or Else project, is launching a nationwide campaign to reverse the trend of privatizing public schools and in its place implement its proven plan for reimagining an education system that has long neglected Black and brown children and starved their schools of resources.

Bolstered by a newly created Grassroots Equity Commission, Equity or Else has come to Washington to back the Biden administration’s budget, which would double the Title I funding that targets low-income schools and, for the first time, allocate $440 million for sustainable community schools. The commission, formed by Schott with J4J, will engage local and federal government in exploring how institutions engage Black, brown and working-class families.


Intent upon getting true equity in education for children of color and reversing the runaway school-privatization trend abetted by Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, grassroots members of campaign organizations will also meet with key senators and with current Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.


The time is ripe for reimagining public education. The Biden administration is committed to allocating critically needed new resources for the task. Congress has shown itself willing and able to provide those resources. The conviction of Ahmaud Arbery’s killers has amplified the discussion of what equity actually means. The pandemic has highlighted the stark inequity that afflicts children of color. And those who have been left behind are raising their voices to demand the rooting out of systemic racism in every institution, including: schools, hospitals, healthcare, food production and delivery systems and public safety.


The Schott Foundation’s Loving Cities index assesses how these institutions function in Black, brown and working-class communities. Equity or Else is founded on the proposition that this reimagining of policy must be guided by the voices of those who have been most deeply affected by inequity. We have come together and are finding solutions that meet our needs.

Equity or Else is doing listening projects with people in underserved communities across the country. The Equity Commission will engage officials from municipalities and the federal government to explore how those foundational institutions in those communitIes can be reimagined, with a focus on equity. By using data from all these sources, the commission will be able to inform government officials at every level on how to create equitable investments and policies to transform quality of life for all Americans.


The following national organizations are participating in the overall Equity or Else campaign: The Alliance for Educational Justice, The Center for Popular Democracy, National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression, Dignity in Schools Campaign, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, Appetite for Change, Alliance for Education Justice, Clean Water Action, White Coats for Black Lives, National Nurses United and Black Lives Matter at School. For more information go to http://www.standing4equity.org

Founded in 2012, the Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) is a national network of intergenerational, grassroots community organizations led primarily by Black and Brown people in 36 U.S. cities. For more information go to www.j4jalliance.com.


FOR MORE INFORMATION: MAYA HIXSON
321.266.2000 MAYA.HIXSON@GMAIL.COM
LAURIE GLENN
773.704.7246 LRGLENN@THINKINCSTRATEGY.COM

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