Tag: COVID

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Anachronistic Costumed Nerds – RenFaire in the Time of Plague

 
A RenFair captured in a single photo

I majored in History and Secondary ed, with an English minor… and I carefully tuck all that away when I go to Renaissance fairs. It is a lot easier, that way, to just roll with the anachronisms and have fun. One of the regular acts that comes through Ohio, The KamiKaze FireFlies, sells t-shirts that say “Just a bunch of nerds, playing dress up in the woods,” and I cannot add to that. This fair (faire?), whose grounds are permanently set up just south of Wilmington, Ohio, is nominally supposed to be set in 1590-ish. So they have a Queen Bess and royal attendants, and of course (during a normal year at least, which this is not) they have jousts and sorta-period-correct games, but any actual adherence to historical accuracy is no more than lip-service and happy accident. In any other year this would have been a massive affair, with long lines just to get into the parking field, long lines of people donning and fixing costumes while queuing up to scan their tickets under the portcullis, long lines for food and drink, and dusty hot crowds cheering on the stage acts and jousts.

This year it was like a ghost town. Tickets were strictly limited and purchased in advance. Half the grounds were roped off and closed, and among what was open there were numerous vacant stalls under the mock towers. But it all felt like a family reunion anyway; I recognized nobody in particular but they were all familiar anyway. The festival had been canceled back at the beginning of August. Then abruptly, near the end of August, they quietly posted on Facebook and elsewhere a partial reversal: for three Saturdays only, on a presale basis, they would open. The tickets sold out in days and the owners added a fourth Saturday. That sold out in 48 hours. We were among the lucky ones, doubly so since the day we got fell the day after our release from our family’s month-long quarantine stemming my Daughter #2’s COVID infection. For us, it was a celebration.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality. They discuss the factors contributing to the decline in qualifications of those who enter the teaching profession, including a general lowering of academic expectations within graduate schools of education and across higher education. They explore the importance of liberal arts content knowledge and subject-area expertise in teacher preparation, and what research shows about the impact of teachers obtaining advanced degrees on student outcomes. Kate describes some of the key differences between teacher preparation, accreditation, and job prospects in the U.S. and other countries, including Canada. They speculate about what a Biden presidency might mean for K-12 education policymaking, delving into the politics of education reform, and the role of trade associations and special interest groups, such as teachers’ unions, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the National Governors Association, in impeding necessary changes. Lastly, Kate shares insights on how to diversify the teaching pipeline, at a time when people of color make up half of public school students, but only 20 percent of their teachers.

Stories of the Week: The governing board of NAEP, or the Nation’s Report Card, is considering changing the framework of the reading section to account for differences in students’ sociocultural backgrounds – will such a shift undermine the reliability of this important barometer of school district performance? An analysis from EducationNext shows that the number of K-12 administrative staff employed in U.S. public school districts has increased by 75 percent over the last two decades, but only 7 percent for teachers. Is this trend sustainable as resources become scarcer?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

In two days, our state will shift back into more restrictive health measures that will remain in effect until “at least” November 30th. Saw this on social media this morning and laughed — until I didn’t. Preview Open

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

An FB friend of mine, a well-respected nurse in Michigan, expressed concern about the number of Covid cases going up. A friend of hers said that the numbers to worry about were the serious cases and deaths. Block quoted below are additional comments my nurse friend made from her ongoing experience with this epidemic. I’ve […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post

 

College football is was my biggest sports addiction. Twice in two weeks, I’ve turned off a college football game. I never thought it would happen, but I did for two reasons: Fighting “social injustice” and COVID. Last weekend, I was watching football when one of those conference ads came on. I believe it was the […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

From Andrea Widburg, American Thinker: The San Francisco Unified School District is using the Wuhan virus as an excuse to finish destroying what was once one of the best public high schools in the country. Those who object have gotten a snootful of Critical Race Theory (CRT) for daring to believe in academic excellence. Preview […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hybrid Teaching Hell: From the Trenches

 

Back in August I wrote a post about my first day back to school, “Why Teachers Think About Quitting“. It feels like it’s been years since I wrote it and it seemed like an appropriate moment to step back and take stock of how things have developed since then in this bizarre “hybrid” teaching world. Some of the issues I mentioned in my post from the first day have been resolved in practical terms- but there are other issues that deserve some attention.

Students

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Paul Peterson, the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University. They discuss his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed analyzing NAEP results from 2005-17 to show that charter schools are helping underprivileged students improve at faster rates than their peers in traditional district schools, especially among African-American students. Professor Peterson shares thoughts on the implications of this evidence for charter school expansion, and the challenges from opponents, predominantly in the Northeast, who seek to over-regulate charter schools. They also delve into lessons from COVID-19 with regard to the long overdue embrace of online education, options such as micro-schools and pods that are unfortunately often only available to affluent families, and the effects of school closures on children.

Stories of the Week: In Boston, attending a charter school dramatically narrows achievement gaps between special-education students and English learners, and their traditional public school counterparts, according to new analysis from Tufts Professor Elizabeth Setren. In Kansas, the Education Commissioner stated that both remote and hybrid learning models are not effective and sustainable through the academic year.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Normalizing the Abnormal

 

There’s a billboard near my house that annoys me every time I drive by it. It’s for a local bank, it’s low on copy, and features a smiling woman speaking approvingly of their Premium Rewards Checking. “That’s great!” she says from behind her face mask.

At least, I think she’s smiling. Hard to know because of the mask.

Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Institute’s Andrew Mikula and Retailers Association of Massachusetts’ Jon Hurst about the state of small business in Massachusetts six months into the pandemic. They discuss the observations and recommendations of Pioneer’s new report, “The Long View: A Public Policy Roadmap for Saving Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Recovery Period.”

Interview Guest

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Local Montanans Decide They’re Done Wearing Masks

 

I first noticed the pattern when picking up my cheese pizza at Little Caesar’s. Signs were everywhere: “Due to the Coronavirus, we are asking that you not wait in the lobby.” “Due to the governor’s order, masks are required for entry into this establishment.” With a little intake of breath, I realized I’d left my mask in the car. Then I saw that no one behind the counter was wearing a mask. Neither was the other customer, a man waiting casually in the lobby for his special order. The next time I got a hankering for pizza, I noticed the same thing. Montanans in our town are just finished with the mask mandate, and certain establishments and their clientele have tacitly agreed that going maskless is fine.

If I had a graph of mask compliance around here, it would show a steep, narrow curve. It’d start with about a third of locals in the stores wearing them, often older women and workers. Before the governor made the order, there were national guidelines, and probably some state and county recommendations, too, so we all had the feeling we were supposed to be wearing them. But the mask wearers stood out. And then the governor gave the order in July, some weeks after our re-opening, enforced through the businesses. Everyone was masked, and one of my friends told a story about being ordered out of a coffee shop after protesting she had a health condition, and told never to return. My graph shoots up to about 98%.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. COVID and Reflections on the Polio Pandemic

 

The Rotary Society is still actively fighting polio today.
On the Friday before the Labor Day weekend, Daughter 3 stayed after school for a few minutes to talk to the substitute teacher of her Bible class. Pastor Mike (not his real name) is the pastor of my in-laws’ church, his wife works in the school office, and they have a daughter in middle school there, so my daughter felt rather free to pepper him with some tricky questions. Over that long weekend, the teacher, who had been feeling a touch under the weather on Friday, progressed to definitively positive COVID-19 symptoms.

We were in the loop anyway through my in-laws, but my daughter received a notice on that Tuesday morning: because she stayed to talk to that teacher, she was considered “exposed” and had to quarantine for 14 days, just in case she got sick too. On Thursday, Daughter 2’s best friend, with whom she had spent most of Labor Day weekend, left school early – she had lost sense of taste and smell. On Friday of that week, due to these and other cases, the school announced that it would close for 2 weeks. Just due to mandatory rules regarding exposure, 1/3 of the staff (to say nothing of a significant number of students) had been ordered to stay home and quarantine. On Sunday, Daughter two said she thought she was having an asthma attack that she couldn’t kick (she has moderate asthma). On Monday it was worse and my wife took her to be tested. We did not get the test results for nearly 24 hours, but when they came they were positive. From that moment on, our entire household was considered exposed and ordered to quarantine.

Member Post

 

We have read many discussions about the number of physical deaths due to COVID-19. We have read fewer discussions of the physical deaths that have occurred or are likely to occur for other medical reasons arising from the restrictions imposed in the name of reducing the transmission of the Wuhan virus that sometimes leads to […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome steadily improving unemployment numbers as they prepare for Friday’s final jobs report before Election Day. They also unload on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for flat out lying about forcing nursing homes to take COVID-positive patients into their facilities, a policy that resulted in several thousand deaths. And they discuss news that the Commission on Presidential Debates is considering rules changes, including cutting off microphones if candidates don’t follow the rules.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Magic Kingdom That Was

 

Disneyland has laid off 28,000 employees. The park has been closed for several months since the COVID pandemic hit. The executives at Disney had hoped to open the park, which includes the adjacent California Adventure, in September. It was not to be. As a result, Disney is losing billions of dollars in revenue from ticket receipts, hotel bookings, restaurant business, and merchandise sold in the parks and in the Downtown Disney area. Even though parts of Downtown Disney, which includes retail stores, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs have been partially opened and doing a fraction of the business that they do when the parks are open, it is likely that many of them will have to close unless the parks are able to open.

But to date, there is no word from the villain in this story, Governor Gavin Newsom, on when Disneyland or California Adventure will be allowed to open despite Disney’s appeals that it can open the park and attractions with new social distancing and other COVID mitigation protocols. The governor’s edict that Disneyland remain closed also effects nearby Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park and all the ancillary businesses – hotels, restaurants, bars, and retail venues throughout the greater Anaheim area that thrive on the traffic that these amusement parks generate on a year-round basis. So, the Disneyland layoffs may pale in comparison to the other layoffs that have occurred and will continue to occur as these other Disney-reliant businesses struggle to stay open.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I was promised an Apocalypse. Destruction would abound. The economy shut down, there would be death in the streets. Hospitals everywhere would struggle to manage the cases of the disease; beds would line the halls and cots would be placed under tents in the streets. Doctors would fall ill, nurses would succumb to the virus. […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Join Jim and Greg as they dig into new polling numbers showing millennial and Gen Z voters very unenthusiastic about Joe Biden. They also react to Nashville officials covering up information showing very few COVID transmissions in bars and conspiring to make sure the public did not know. And they enjoy spiking the football on John Kerry by looking back to his 2016 pronouncement that there would never be Israeli-Arab peace outside of a peace deal involving the Palestinians.

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer what appears to be a major antibody discovery from the University of Pittsburgh that could be a huge asset in the fight against COVID. They also spotlight the “party of science” figures like Kamala Harris and North Carolina U.S. Senate hopeful Cal Cunningham saying they would not trust a COVID vaccine announced prior to the election. And they have fun with Kamala promising what would happen in a “Harris administration” before suddenly remembering she’s not actually the nominee.