Dave Grohl is taking a stand for American teachers in a passionate op-ed against school reopening
If you’re wondering where Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl stands on the issue of schools in the U.S. reopening, well, he just made his thoughts on the matter crystal-clear. And, in doing so, the rocker is standing up for teachers — not to mention paying homage to his mom, a retired teacher — as a new academic year looms.
To that end, Grohl wrote a short essay titled In Defense Of Our Teachers (which he then recorded for his Dave’s True Stories series). He begins by explaining that, although he was a “terrible student,” the reopening of schools debate resonates with him because his mom, Virginia, served as a public school teacher. And like most teachers, she worked tirelessly and selflessly to help her students.
“It takes a certain kind of person to devote their life to this difficult and often-thankless job,” wrote Grohl. “Over the years, I have come to notice that teachers share a special bond, because there aren’t too many people who truly understand their unique challenges — challenges that go far beyond just pen and paper. Today, those challenges could mean life or death for some.”
As Grohl points out, the question of reopening has become increasingly politicized (cough, Trump administration, cough). With that, concern for the wellbeing of students continues to grow. But what about our teachers? “‘There’s so much more to be addressed than just opening the doors and sending them back home,'” Grohl recounted his now-82-year-old retired mother telling him.
Among the laundry list of valid issues that teachers face? “Masks and distancing, temperature checks, crowded busing, crowded hallways, sports, air-conditioning systems, lunchrooms, public restrooms…”
Considering the lack of resources many public schools already face, and that teachers already have to compensate for, it’s unlikely that the funds to deal with these new COVID-era issues will manifest. Not to mention, although the average age of teachers places them in a lower-risk category, auxiliary school employees (cafeteria workers, janitors, bus drivers) do generally fall in the older, higher-risk category.
So, what would Grohl’s mom suggest? “Remote learning for the time being,” she told him. Granted, he admits comes with its own set of logistical complications. But rushing to reopen schools would be “foolish,” emphasizes the rocker.
“America’s teachers are caught in a trap, set by indecisive and conflicting sectors of failed leadership that have never been in their position and can’t possibly relate to the unique challenges they face,” wrote Grohl. In this impassioned portion of the op-ed, he pointed specifically to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ lack of experience as an educator as one of the many ways our teachers are being failed.
He finished, “Until you have spent countless days in a classroom devoting your time and energy to becoming that lifelong mentor to generations of otherwise disengaged students, you must listen to those who have. Teachers want to teach, not die, and we should support and protect them like the national treasures that they are.”
And can we just say hell yeah? Grohl hits the nail on the head here — it’s on the rest of us to keep hammering the message home. Teachers, we support you!
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