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Showing posts from June, 2020

Pediatricians' Recommendations for Schools this Coming Fall

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The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) wants to make this clear: Pediatricians strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The academy warns us of the negative impacts on children due to school closures. The Brookings Institute also reminds us of what we now already know with regard to school closings during World War II. Psacharopoulos and others tell us that these still have an impact on the student's lives some forty years later. They even try to put an estimate on the cost of school closings for four months, reflected in a loss in earnings, in the US: Two and a half trillion dollars. Of course, there is no price tag for saving just one life from COVID-19. Thus, AAP is likewise mindful of the safety concerns. 
First, the AAP evaluates what we know so far regarding the epidemiology of COVID-19. The AAP notes: SARS-CoV-2 appears to behave differently in children and adole…

We Should Open Schools with Masks and Shields

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It has been twelve days since my family participated in a community rally for black lives matter. Knock on wood, I have not heard from anyone in the rally who have contracted the novel coronavirus. These rallies have been widespread, but no surge in cases has been associated with these gatherings. In our neighborhood protest, it was impossible to maintain a social distance of six feet, but there was one thing everyone was able to observe. Everyone was wearing a mask.



Several weeks have already passed since massive rallies for George Floyd were staged. Yet, surges in cases have not occurred. Take, for instance, Minneapolis, the epicenter of these protests. At this time, the city is reporting only 1.4 percent positive for those who were tested and also attended rallies. The same is true for other major metropolitan areas where demonstrations happened.


The photo and caption above probably captures the reason why a surge in cases has not materialized: Widespread masking. People were worried…

Mason District Holds a Protest with a Community Feeling

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Black lives will only start to matter if we dismantle systems that either advance or encumber a certain group of individuals. No amount of education can erase racism for this grows from self-interest. Our children know this since they are not born with this attitude but with our misguided desire to be at an advantage, children grow within a system that either favors or burdens them. We do not need to educate. What we need is to change the educational system so that it serves all students. Equity is the only answer. We heard our children more than a week ago here at Mason district. The community is united in this endeavor but protest rallies need to end with action and we must change our institutions. The following is a repost from Blue View. In this, Abby Block states, "Perhaps that tells us something about the depth and breadth of the effort that has just begun and shows no sign of abating." I sure hope so.





Mason District holds a protest with a community feelingJune 17, 202…

Planning for Schools Reopening in the Fall

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There are still at least a couple of months before school starts in the United States. COVID-19 is obviously under serious consideration. With the pandemic affecting all countries all over the world for the past four months, there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding how the virus spreads. Spreading of the virus has been noted in stadium events, parties, restaurants, and religious gatherings. Of course, infection occurs easily within a household. Most children are only mildly affected by the novel corona virus but they can possibly serve as carriers. Some schools in other countries have reopened and it maybe useful to learn from their experiences. One country is Israel. Schools in Israel started with a staggered schedule and strict social distancing near the beginning of May, but after two weeks, these limitations were lifted. And the COVID-19 data of Israel begins to suggest a second wave.


To describe the current situation inside classrooms in Israel, the following from a parent i…

Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racism Works

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The following is a repost from Women In and Beyond the Global. Jocelyn McCullough is one of the voices heard during Annandale's Family March on Black Lives Matter. Jocelyn is a student leader of the Equity Team at Justice High School.


Black Lives Matter and Anti-Racism WorksJUNE 10, 2020 BY 




“Thank you to the Anderson, De Dios, and Sandoval-Moshenberg families. I appreciate this opportunity to speak my truth  Before I begin I would like to have a moment of silence to acknowledge the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Manahoac, Nacotchtank, Piscataway First Nations tribes on which we are standing, working, and learning in today. For those who don’t know me, I am Jocelyn McCullough I am a proud and unapologetically Black girl in America  I am a scholar  I am a student leader at Justice High School  I am the great grand-daughter of a Tuskegee airman I am the granddaughter of Black Panthers who were at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 196…

Why We Need To Keep Speaking Up

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Black students matter for one good reason: All students matter. It may sound like a broken record but we must admit that a number of people are still clinging to the idea that only a few have gifts or talents. While I was a graduate student, another person in the research group shared with me this profound idea. In scientific research, someone else is always bound to discover what we are looking for. True enough, I find that researchers are often in a race. In fact, it is not uncommon to get scooped or see what you just have already accomplished, published by someone else in a journal. It is therefore incorrect to think that we are unique such that we alone can solve a pressing problem, or discover something that will benefit mankind. Yet, our educational system and research enterprises continue to embrace exceptionalism. Just recently, an article in Angewandte Chemie International Edition almost got into print. It contained the following paragraph:



The above article has been taken do…

Annandale Wants Change

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My spouse and I have spent the largest fraction of our lives in this community called Annandale. Last night, my wife help organized a march. In the words of another resident, James Albright: "First protest I have ever known of in Annandale. Hundreds upon hundreds protesting in front of Mason District police station". We did not expect a very large crowd, yet hundreds of families from Annandale came, which actually made social distancing very challenging. It started with a march along Columbia Pike from Barcroft Center to the Mason District Police Station. Inside the parking lot of the police station, people knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time a police officer knelt on George Floyd during his final moments. Afterwards, the people, adults and children, of Annandale spoke up.



Names of African Americans brutally killed by the police were read by the son of Ricardy Anderson, Mason District representative to the Fairfax County School Board. Ander…

Letting Our Children Speak

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My two children have been standing on Gallows Road, holding banners for Black Lives Matter and justice for George Floyd. Both are preparing for tomorrow. We have a family-friendly march scheduled tomorrow at 7 in the evening in Annandale. The march is organized by parents from Mason Crest Elementary School. The meeting place is in front of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church at the corner of Columbia Pike and Lincolnia Road. The march begins from the church and ends at the Mason District Government Center. A short program that includes a moment of silence followed by short speeches from a parent, an educator, and from children in Annandale is scheduled at the Government Center.  Parents attending the marched are encouraged to have their children share their thoughts or inspirational quotes on racial justice. A keynote address from a student leader highlights the program. The program ends with a unity song. With COVID-19 cases still on the rise in Northern Virginia, people should wear ma…

An Important Lesson For All Our Children

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I am taking the liberty of sharing in this blog a post made by a former school principal, Brian Butler. It is a simple story yet it vividly demonstrates what we often take for granted in our daily lives. Life is truly different if we are among the disfavored. Our society is broken and all of us and especially our children have a lot to learn and understand. Only then can we truly change our communities for the better,




Brian Butler
16 hrs It happens and just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean we don’t experience it! This is what I don’t want from this post:
“Oh Brian I am so sorry, or I can’t believe that happened, or ..... This is not a pity party but a share so my white bothers and sisters can get a glimpse into our world. Perspective on our experience as black people....Think about this not too long ago from my hometown... My dad just three or four years ago (May He Rest In Peace-he passed away in January) was driving mind you he was 83-84 at the time with a heart machine gets stop…

Trump Through The Eyes Of A Fifth Grader

The following is a guest post from my daughter. This article is scheduled to be published in her school's newspaper.


President Trump Crisis By: Amelia de Dios

As you all know, this coronavirus crisis is a huge deal in many ways. Our economy is growing weak. People cannot get money they need, which means no food. They must wait in lines for more than an hour, so that they can feed their family. States are competing for masks so they can be safe. People are having to eat less so that they can have a shelter to live in! And what is President Trump doing to help?

Economy

As you know, because of social distancing some places are closed. But they still must pay rent. But if they are not making money, then how can they pay rent? The answer is, they can’t. And if they can’t pay rent, they close. And the employees that worked there are now jobless. And if they are jobless, they don’t make money. And if you don’t make money you can’t buy food, pay rent for a shelter, and buy clothes. And if th…

It Is Not Math and Reading

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While we focus our attention on math and reading scores, we have become unaware of a deeper problem in our educational system. What we have neglected is not a simple superficial list of good manners and right conduct. Deep in our hearts, we adults are teaching our children exactly the opposite of what humanity craves for at the moment. Instead of serving as beacons for empathy and kindness, we simply rekindle the flame of bias and phony sanctimony. Four years ago, Cory Turner at nprEd summed up what we were missing: "Bias isn't just a police problem, it's a preschool problem".


Research has shown convincingly that preschool teachers are more likely to expect bad behavior from a child who is an African American boy. Not surprising, black children are over-represented in school disciplinary measures. We indeed teach our young very well. Racism is alive and well. And we really need not look further. It is in our schools. Advanced academic programs confer privilege on thos…