Boots & Sabers

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0517, 04 Jan 22

Keep our schools open

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

Think back to your childhood. Maybe you were 6 years old and excited to get to school to play with your friends. Maybe you were 12 and learning that instrument that would spark a lifelong love of music. Maybe you were 17 and sweating through your ill-fitting suit as you danced with the girl who would become your wife. Those were formative years. They were important years.


Now go back into your memory, pick any year or two, and erase it. Replace it with a picture of yourself sitting at home – alone – staring at the world through a screen and trying to understand it. Hour after hour. Day after day. How many opportunities are lost? How many relationships are never formed? How is your life different?


As the omicron variant of COVID-19 sweeps through Wisconsin, some school districts are already thinking about closing their doors to pretend to do virtual learning. The Milwaukee Public Schools and the Madison Metropolitan School District, Wisconsin’s two largest school districts, have already decided to go virtual (read: abandon education) and delay opening for fear of omicron. Other school districts might soon follow.


This must stop. We are almost two years into our experience with COVID-19 and there are two things we know for sure: COVID-19 is almost no threat to kids, but closing schools is devastating to them on many levels. We must prioritize the education and mental health of our kids over the minimal threat of COVID-19.


0517, 04 January 2022


  1. Mar

    They should arrest the superintendents of Milwaukee and Madispn schools for child abuse.

  2. Tuerqas

    I thought you guys supported home schooling? ;)

  3. Mar

    I know I do, you have to the right mix of skills for t he parent.
    One, they have to.hav r the time to Almost requires a stay at home parent or parents that work different shifts.
    Then the parent needs skills in the subjects taught and finally, the family needs motivated to do the home schooling..
    Not everyone can do it, but those who can, will do better than the public schools.

  4. Tuerqas

    And they missed not one thing that Owen was talking/reminiscing about. I know I would not trade my childhood or schooling for anything, but I could not give my kid the same thing. West Bend schools were awesome back when they had the 6 day Mod system.

  5. Owen

    I am a huge advocate for home schooling. But homeschooling is not the same as distance learning.

  6. Tuerqas

    I fully agree, but think about it this way. The first school districts to close are the worst school districts (and the most liberal) in the state. Home schooling and private schools are the last to close. The Americans that most need to be convinced to push for change are the liberal voting majority that have been taught that public school is the best school option. If they are not happy with their schools closing some changes may possibly follow.
    It is children of conservative parents that dominate home and private schools overall and I believe the children of liberal voters that dominate public schools (just look how they all vote and don’t think the same ways. Liberals are the people of rote. if they are not on board for change then any real improvement options will be portrayed as horrible conservative biases and liberals won’t think past that. A virtual school disaster is what liberals will have to have to get any changes in schooling.

    And with just a little tongue-in-cheek, home schooling is pretty drastically different than any memories I ever had in school and have a lot less of the memories you tried to tug at our heart strings with in your post. I see it as a bit disingenuous for you to promote home schooling, but then condemn public schools going virtual temporarily because they would be missing many of the same things home schoolers miss most of the time.

  7. Tuerqas

    Just keep it to the point, virtual schooling had dramatic educational drops and should not be considered as a viable option.

  8. dad29

    the parent needs skills in the subjects taught

    Really? I know quite a few home-school parents who did very well with their children despite being ‘average knowledge’ people. The home-school programs available these days make it very do-able.

  9. Mar

    Well, Dad, there are plenty of parents who are below average.

  10. dad29

    About as great a proportion as below-average teachers, I suppose.

  11. MjM

    Well, Mar, today your gov made a major move in the right direction. The state money will be able to follow the student. Sort of. As in, only if the school being attended closes because CCPVirus.

    The-money-flies is the only solution to peel off the iron grip of the leftist who run public education. The concept should be universal, available to any and all. While Ducey’s program is laudable, it is acutely incomplete.

    For the life of me I don’t know why you would want your kids in today’s public schools. They are not teaching. They are indoctrinating.

    (Side note: AZ spends about $10k per student, WI almost $15k).

  12. Mar

    Not only are schools being stupid, businesses are also being stupid.
    The last week, our heater where I work has been broken and I have been working in Temps 38-50 degrees. Warm to people in Wisconsin but those of who live in the desert, not so.much.
    I got a cold because of this and now, my employer is forcing me to to.get a covid test because I have a cough.
    So, I will be off of work.for a couple of days because of my stupid employers decision.
    Good luck with them finding someone to work the night shift because I have a cough because of their broken heater.

  13. Mar

    I should add, I have a couple of cases of beer and it’s 60 outside, so, I will be enjoying myself the next few days.

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