Stagnant School Statistics

There is an average of 10.86 hospitalized covid patients in each county in North Carolina.

1,086 / 100 (counties) = 10.86 patients per county

Source: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard/hospitalizations


There are 1,553,334 public school students in North Carolina.

That’s an average of 15,533 students per county.

Source: https://www.publicschoolreview.com/north-carolina


As you might expect after seeing the first figure, our health care system is not being overrun. In fact, the number of “in use” hospital beds has decreased while covid “positives” have increased over the past month.

Source: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard/hospitalizations


As we do not have a cure for Covid-19, these numbers are likely to look very similar by the end of 2020.

So…

How long do you want to keep schools shut down?

When is it worth the risk to open them up again?

I think it is now.

If it gets bad, we can always shut it down. But we should absolutely try.


Disclaimer: I have an agenda. It’s called my children’s future.

Downtown Fayetteville’s Subtle Success

Today, I ate lunch in downtown Fayetteville at a place called Agora. Try it. It’s good. But, it got me thinking.

Per wikipedia: The agora (/ˈæɡərə/Ancient Greek: ἀγορά agorá) was a central public space in ancient Greek city-states. It is the best representation of city form’s response to accommodate the social and political order of the polis.[1] The literal meaning of the word is “gathering place” or “assembly”. The agora was the center of the athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life in the city.[2] The Ancient Agora of Athens is the best-known example.

Per Atlas Obscura (a really cool site): But what marked the Agora with everlasting glory was the other commodity traded and peddled daily: ideas. The Agora was the meeting grounds and hang out spot for ancient Athenians, where members of the elected democracy assembled to discuss affairs of state, noblemen came to conduct business, ordinary citizens got together to meet up with friends and watch performers, and where the famed philosophers doused their listeners with wisdom (or rubbish).


Downtown was exceptionally busy today. It’s been that way lately.

After lunch, I passed protesters camping out at the Market House. Yesterday, there was a larger protest on Hay Street. It got a little rowdy.

Our police chief was right in the middle of it.


There’s an idealistic clash in America right now. It’s a war of ideas about what the Nation was, is, and should be moving forward. A similar war is raging over what Fayetteville should be. We’re being tested. But at least we have a place to show up and present those ideas that’s not the internet. When people meet face to face, they often find they have more in common than they think. Truth emerges eventually when we listen to one another.

Covid has destroyed many of our communal traditions that hold us together as a city. We’re not going to church, ballgames, and Fourth of July fireworks shows. It’s hard to listen when you’re sitting at home. The virus isn’t going away anytime soon. In the meantime, at least we have a public space where people are going to hash it out.

America is full of ideas. You’re free to peddle yours daily in downtown Fayetteville, be they wisdom or rubbish.

Fayetteville, NC – Healing Field® 2020 – Colonial Flag Foundation

Predictable Divides

Fayetteville was in the Washington Post today.

You should read the article. It’s about race.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-fayetteville-george-floyd-killing-divides-black-elected-officials-and-protesters-of-color/2020/07/06/cc051372-b49e-11ea-aca5-ebb63d27e1ff_story.html

“The divisions are not always predictable.”

“In Fayetteville, many young activists have cared little about renaming Fort Bragg or what the city does with the Market House — even as a diverse coalition calls for it to be torn down — but they have become particularly incensed over the words painted on the street around the structure, which they say symbolize the overcautiousness of a council not wanting to offend.”


I think the author gets it wrong about the “unpredictability” of the divides. Of course, I started a blog to write about them, so I’m biased.

My take: the divisions are alive and well and paint will do nothing to solve them. In fact, this paint job probably made them worse by angering both sides.


But that’s my take. Make your own decisions about these issues.

You live here.

Trump is Going to Lose

I realize this headline is not welcome news to roughly 45-55% of the people who read this blog. But it’s true. I call it like I see it. Feel free to keep reading, or not. It’s still the truth.

In 2018, I wrote a post comparing Trump to a “red giant” star.

Indian Astrophysicists: Lithium in Interstellar space & Red Giants ...

A “red giant” is a dying star in its last stages of evolution.  It burns up all the fuel at its core and the nuclear reactions move outward.  As the star cools, it expands, swallowing up planets and any other matter that gets in its way.

Donald Trump is the red giant of the 2018 election.  Republicans cannot escape his influence, good or bad.  He won’t let them.  He interjects himself (often intentionally) into every issue and every down-ballot race.  It’s always about him, and thus it will be in November.

https://crosscreekdivide.com/2018/08/14/blue-wave-or-a-red-giant/

Well, that was then. Something happened in 2020.

Coronavirus FAQ: What you need to know about the virus - The ...

It’s still happening. It’s microscopic in size, but this little red ball has absorbed everything in its path. It’s changing our lives, for the worse.

I’m not attempting to blame Trump for America’s Covid woes. A great deal of it is out of his hands, but Europe is going back to work and school, and we’re still struggling across the pond.

Why?

The Buck Stops Here - Tunnel Hill Baptist Church

It doesn’t matter why. All that matters is the problem won’t go away and Trump is still in charge. People will give you the benefit of the doubt for a while, but eventually you need to show them you have a plan to get out of the quagmire. Thus far, Trumps only plan has been to act like the quagmire is a “conspiracy” to stop his re-election.

After I wrote that last sentence, I checked the President’s twitter feed. He posted this one minute ago:

Trump’s inevitable hang-up is that he is facing a problem that cannot be contained in his world of self-centered soundbites.

Americans are not stupid.

They have come to understand that America is bigger than one man.

They want a President who understands that too.

Spikes and School

Today was supposed to be the day that Governor Roy Cooper announced his plans for the upcoming school year. He decided to wait.

I have two boys, 6 and 8. They are public school students. Cooper’s decision will have a direct impact on my family and the hundreds of thousands of others like “us” in this state.

We’re running out of time. School systems, teachers, employees, parents and students needs to know what’s going to happen to their lives in six weeks.

Why don’t they? I’ll tell you why, but you have to indulge my juvenile side a minute.

One of the benefits of having two young sons is you get to re-live your own boyhood in certain ways. One of these ways is you get to play the 21st century versions of the video games you grew up with. Nintendo is still Nintendo, it’s just a lot more fun. Speaking of fun, I take a great deal of pride in beating my boys in certain games. Again, Nintendo is still Nintendo and I put in the work at their age. It still pays off.

Things were going pretty well in North Carolina until June. Our covid curve was long and slow. I compared it to a “two-mile hill” in a post on this site. Governor Cooper was going to be a hero. The “Cuomo of the South” had gotten it right from the beginning and proved his critics wrong. Re-election seemed inevitable.

It was hard not to call North Carolina a success story, and it was smooth sailing as we negotiated the pitfalls of other states with ease.

In “Zelda” in 2020, you use a special power called “stasis” to freeze large metal objects that look like coronaviruses and will kill you if you touch them. In North Carolina in 2020, you use an controversial political tool called a “lockdown” to freeze human beings so they don’t get actual coronaviruses. The concept is the same.

It all seemed to work pretty well for us and after a few months of pain, it was time end the lockdown.

At the end of May, we hit the re-start button, putting an end to this nasty ordeal and getting back to our normal way of life:

um…..yeah….

It wasn’t over.

You need a cure to avoid the spikes. We don’t have one at the moment.

North Carolina’s covid problem roughly doubled in the month of June. The spikes got larger.

Rumors of the school year being postponed and rumblings of “remote learning” broke the hearts and the collective will of Tar Heel mothers.

They need a break. Their sons and daughters need a childhood.

So now what??? How do we get through this? Cooper’s not telling us, so you get the Cross Creek Divide answer:

I’ve got two solutions, one philosophical, one practical.

The first: actually listen to the experts. That’s what Cooper says he does.

In this case, listen to physicians who have spent their careers treating diseases that harm children.

They say our kids need to be in class.

The nation’s pediatricians have come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidance “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

The guidance says “schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being.”

The AAP cites “mounting evidence” that transmission of the coronavirus by young children is uncommon, partly because they are less likely to contract it in the first place.

On the other hand, the AAP argues that based on the nation’s experience this spring, remote learning is likely to result in severe learning loss and increased social isolation. Social isolation, in turn, can breed serious social, emotional and health issues: “child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.” Furthermore, these impacts will be visited more severely on Black and brown children, as well as low-income children and those with learning disabilities.

Now for the practical: Ramp up the teaching fellows program immediately. Forgive all student loans for graduates of UNC, NC State (yes, even them), or any other state university that agree to teach in a public school for four years starting NOW. Quadruple the funding, NOW.

The reason is simple: we need young teachers, NOW. Why? Young people are less susceptible to the dangers of Covid-19, NOW.

Adapt to the danger.

Most of all, keep moving forward.

It’s time to be brave.

Cause they are.