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Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Place your bets on school re-closings

Editor’s Notebook: Place your bets on school re-closings

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With Fairfax County schools in session for a week and Arlington set to open today, this past weekend brought a bevy of sports activity, including a bunch of Friday-night high-school football games, some of which got derailed when a lightning storm settled in over Northern Virginia.

(If it hit in Shirlington, I missed it, but then, Friday night is my crash-and-burn night to catch up on sleep lost throughout the week. No storm is going to raise me from that slumber.)

One major topic of discussion among school staff and parents over the past week has been, “can the school systems keep the in-person instruction going?” And the consensus, sad to say, appears to be “likely not.”

As one insider told our own Dave Facinoli: They may be able to get through September. But October? Mmmmmmmm …….

That would be terribly unfortunate on so many levels, and if it comes to pass, at that point it might be wiser just to shut down attempts at public education until the COVID crisis recedes. Pretending, as some seem to be doing, that kids are actually being educated during “Zoom School” or will simply be able to catch up later is only going to leave us with a lot of kids unprepared for the rigors of their future.

Anyway, let’s hope it can all be worked out. This is one case when I, who have been saying for some time that there’s little chance school systems will stick it out once in-school COVID cases rise (as they invariably will), will be happy to be proved wrong.

ALWAYS GOOD TO SNEAK A PATTON QUOTE IN: Our own Brian Trompeter reminded me of this quote, attributed (in several variations) to that slap-happy WWII general, George S. Patton.

“If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking,” he is said to have remarked at one point.

The quote is appropriate given last week’s confab among elected Northern Virginia leaders (“mayors and chairs,” as the saying goes, although some mayors from the smaller communities were left out of the mix).

The entire event, for those who checked in, was an exercise in group-think and self-congratulation, with some shade thrown on previous regional leaders (who not shockingly happened to be of a different political party than those currently running the Ennn-Veeee-Ayyyy jurisdictions).

What say you, late great Casey Kasem? “Ponderous, man, [bleep]ing ponderous,” as he once said in a classic Casey rage.

Years back, when there was something akin to a two-party political system in parts of the area, I would ask every candidate for office this question: “Where do you disagree with a point of view held by a majority of those in leadership in your party?”

Some candidates swung and missed, but others served up interesting answers.

These days, those leading the local jurisdictions are so in lockstep, publicly at least, with the inviolable tenets of their party, or perhaps are so scared of being even one half-beat out of tune, that they’d never even consider answering such a question. Fortunately for them, few in the local press corps[e] would even think about posing it.

No independently held thoughts? No contrarian points of view? Rather a boring way to go through life, I’d imagine. A slicing and dicing political argument is always good to get the blood flowing, after all.

Today’s political leaders, however, seem to prefer to remain sclerotic when it comes to their political arteries.

  • Scott McCaffrey
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