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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Will candidates actually address devastating school lockouts?

Editor’s Notebook: Will candidates actually address devastating school lockouts?

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Li’l Scotty’s days of moderating political debates are long gone. They were fun while they lasted but it’s more stressful, ergo less enjoyable, up there at the moderator’s podium than it appears, so I stopped accepting and, eventually, organizations stopped asking.

But Li’l Scotty would toss the following hand grenade into upcoming Arlington School Board debates, were he the moderator. Follow along:

“In June 2020, then-President Donald Trump announced he wanted to see all American schoolchildren back in class that September. About a week later, the Arlington School Board became the first in Northern Virginia to announce it would be all-“virtual” for that fall. Coincidence? Question: If Donald Trump had come out and called for all students to be kept at home for safety, do you think the Arlington School Board immediately would have announced plans for a return to class that fall, saying that in-person instruction was too valuable to lose and denouncing Trump as a monster to even suggest keeping kids out of classrooms?”

And we wouldn’t move on to the next question until the candidate had answered it to the moderator’s satisfaction 🙂

Yes, it’s a snarky, smart-ass and too rambling question, but within it lies a key to understanding what is now pretty well clear: School lockouts went on way too long in some places, including Northern Virginia, causing huge amounts of damage to student learning (see yesterday’s New York Times front page) for little appreciable gain in public-health outcomes, and politics of various sorts seem to have played a major role in that decision-making, despite the denials of those who were making those decisions.

Shouldn’t somebody at least ask about all this??

Next Tuesday’s Arlington County Civic Federation debate between School Board candidates should be an opportunity to explore what was done right and what was done wrong in the lead-up to, and execution of, the school-lockdown orders of 2020. We’ll see if either of the candidates, or both, will actually address that big elephant in the room, or simply prattle on about lesser matters as they fill time and run out the clock.

Hope springs eternal, at least at this keyboard. Let’s get ready to rumble, candidates!

THE STORY SO NICE, THEY PRINTED IT TWICE! Happens to the best of us in the newspaper biz occasionally: The Falls Church News-Press this week published a news brief on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission on Page 2, then printed the same brief (albeit cut a couple of paragraphs from the bottom) on Page 17.

  • Scott McCaffrey

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