Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Make Education Safe Again

Make Education Safe Again - where we really are right now.

 

#SchoolStrike2021
#SafeEdForAll
@SafeEdForAll
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The best leverage we have is collective solidarity. Acting together, we have each others back. Because the Government do not have our backs. They are exposing us, and our children, to avoidable harm.
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Proposal : UK and Global School Strike every Friday to confront this insanity of deliberately, recklessly exposing our children to a known pathogen when we know it does have adverse impacts, including fatalities, long term disease and associated psychological trauma for bystanders and afflicted alike.
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#MakeSchoolsSafeAgain #MESA
~ Update : 26/10/21 ~
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#SafeEdForAll
#MESA
#MakeEducationSafeAgain

IndependentSAGE have issued detailed guidelines on how to make schools safe for children, teachers and parents and ultimately for the wider community, to reduce to a minimum the spread of the COVID virus within schools, if not to stop transmission entirely.  Prepared by a collective of experts in epidemiology, virology, public health, education, data modelling, social care, human behaviour and other areas pertinent to handing an epidemic/pandemic. It is not rocket science.

IndependentSAGE issued similar guidelines at the end of Summer 2020, guidelines which the English Government dismissed. We saw what happened as a result. Then we did not have vaccines, now we do. Then we did not have Delta, now we do. Everything has changed, and yet the English Government's policy is, if anything, more reckless than before. Schools are still unsafe for everyone involved, and for the wider community.

The effects on some children of SARS-COV2 infection leading to COVID19 disease and long Covid  include toxic shock syndrome and other unpredictable adverse outcomes which are related to 'super-antigens' found within the virus. There is still so much that is unknown, and in American and Israel where they 'opened up' after vaccination programs for adults were rolled out, outcomes for children exposed to Delta appear to be more intense than with previous variants.

More children were presenting with adverse health outcomes than previously.

While the overall or global percentage rates appear to be small, it is when the are applied to populations of millions of children meeting limited available space in health care systems, the numbers become a serious problem, logistically, and threaten the Governments status.

But for the children and parents involved no amount of minimising the population level impact as a small percentage offers any comfort.

Not least when uncontrolled spread of the virus in the community is avoidable.

Independent SAGE

In recent months IndependentSAGE has issued detailed advice on making schools as safe as they can be to prevent uncontrolled spread of the virus, and the harms to children that will entail, all avoidable harms.

September : https://www.independentsage.org/september-2021-an-urgent-plan-for-safer-schools/

Urging caution, requesting mitigations be re-established in schools to prevent surge of infections, and the harms associated with all of that.

October : https://www.independentsage.org/independent-sage-response-to-the-20th-october-press-conference-by-health-secretary-sajid-javid-we-need-a-winter-plan-now/

Urging extreme caution, requesting mitigations be re-established in nationally to prevent surge of infections, and the harms associated with all of that.

SARS-CoV-2 suppression, rather than attempting to live with the virus, creates best outcomes for health, the economy, and civil liberties. By every measure living with the virus causes more harms. Three studies confirm this.

1, Elimination aka suppression of community transmission reduces incidence, prevents uncontrolled spread, avoids the need for lockdowns, protects people's health, civil liberties and economies.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00978-8/fulltext

2 . The Westminster Government has failed to protect the right to health of the English people.

https://www.hhrjournal.org/2020/11/the-right-to-health-in-times-of-pandemic-what-can-we-learn-from-the-uks-response-to-the-covid-19-outbreak/

3. Human Rights study of UK Governance during 2020/21 with regards to Corona Virus, and upholding the populations Right to Health. 

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2021.646285/full

This is an Italian academic study of the way Government and Science were set within the ongoing epidemic. The Government failed on multiple counts to accept proven epidemiological scientific and public health advice, and this, combined with a News Media that allowed, and continues to allow that neglect free passage, created an environment of zero accountability. 

What kind of culture allows this to happen?

What is going on here? Whose needs are being met, and whose needs being neglected?

What are schools for, and why should they be safe for children, teachers, parents and the wider community?

What is Education for?

We all accept that Education is a necessary institution, We are a learning species. It's something we do really, really well, often independent of formal instruction.

John Taylor Gatto, a teacher who won many, many awards for his work with children, educating in urban and rural areas of deprivation in New York. He won those awards for the results of his advocacy as a teacher, in deprived areas, beyond delivering the curriculum, teaching and advocating for better support, as an activist teacher, by being a superb, kind, empathic friend and advocate for all the children - being real, congruent, honest and creative in terms of helping the children resolving social educational problems in real time. His efforts changed many, many lives for the better, and he influenced the Education system in New York, and beyond, to good effect. 

Mr. Gatto,  upon being awarded Best Teacher in New York for a third time, decided to use the opportunity of the award ceremony to quit, publicly. Here are  the first few lines of his award speech, where he accepted the award and rejected the system that gave it to him. A very brave thing to do.

"I’ve taught public school for 26 years but I just can’t do it anymore. For years I asked the local school board and superintendent to let me teach a curriculum that doesn’t hurt kids, but they had other fish to fry. So I’m going to quit, I think."

The Westminster Government are forcing parents of the nation to send their children into unsafe schools.

Mr. Gatto quit close to the end of a long and distinguished career, because he did not want to harm any children. His quitting was symbolic, piece of public theatre, on behalf of all children, everywhere. An appeal to the power, into their faces, so that there could be no confusing it with a roast. 

I'd not ask working teachers to do  that, go that far.  I know teaching is a complex activity, with many demands and needs to be met, equally well. Being responsible for a class or a year or a school is intense.

I would say instead, "give his words some thought".

How do we stand and advocate for the children, beyond the teaching role itself?

How do we and how do students explore and learn together, to meet this situation?


Another great educator, Paolo Friere had this to say about teaching:

"Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."

What we are witnessing today in England is a massive failure by Government, by the Department of Education and to a lessor degree head teachers, teachers and parents to do the latter - to deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world for the best possible outcomes for all concerned. Collectively England's adults are failing to avoid avoidable harms to their own and each others children.

England's primary and secondary schools are not COVID safe, and neither are it's universities and yet Government has ordered that all students return to full time study without the necessary protections in place, without the non pharmaceutical interventions that ought to be mandated and supported by Government that would make schools safe for all involved. Does it have to be this way?.

This failure is not the fault of the parents or of the teachers of the children those parents have entrusted into their care. 

The English Government's communications, advice and regulation on COVID have been an unmitigated disaster by every available measure. COVID is not over. Blatantly. Gavin Williamson has been more whip than carrot.

Given the political grooming inherent in England's public discourse, where a news media industry that is mostly owned by Oligarchs jealous of their power and wealth is deployed  not to inform, but to protect the interests of Power and Wealth above all others, including in this instance the best interests of all our children, and a Government that lies as it breathes, it is no wonder that many, many people are confused, disoriented, mislead and misinformed. 

To mask or not, to take up the vaccine or not, to isolate or not, to travel or to shelter, HEPA air filters or open windows, class sizes reduced or maintained at pre COVID levels, LFT or PCR testing, is it a flu or a cold or something more serious, does it afflict children, are CEV children safe, are they truants, will their parents be prosecuted, what is 'herd immunity', what do variants imply for future behaviour, what is the precautionary principle - where is the clarity and logistical support that clarifies these and many other questions? £

37 billion budget for two years of an inadequate test, trace system without funded isolation against £68 billion on furlough and even still community transmission is now at higher levels than it was this time last year. This is what lack of clarity, lack of due diligence in Government applying itself to the science delivers.

That much needed clarity is not coming from the English Government, that much is clear. This timeline of scientific advice compared to Government policy choices, which I mentioned above, prepared by IndependentSAGE, a collective of experts in the full range of issues related to COVID, illustrates that with absolute accuracy. The English government's claim to be 'following the science' is untrue. It is a lie.

England's Government is not providing the support England's teaching staff and students need to be able to teach and learn safely. How many times must it be said before the people demand the most basic of tenets of a democratic state be upheld?

Education must never harm the learner, nor enrol the teacher in any harmful practice. 

And here we are. Education is now a place of harm causation. This difficult situation does however present an opportunity. 

Making Education Safe Again!

The current situation of un-safe schools and orders to send children into them is a challenge parents and teaching staff must meet - they must confront this recklessness in order to best serve the children's needs. They do not need to do this on their own. They need all of us to work with them, and to that end they must become educators of the nation, the whole population.

I think there is no other option worthy of our collective duty of care to the children.

As Paolo Friere wrote : "Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."

Solidarity in protecting our children's best interests in this situation is the pathway to work the changes we need to bring about to make education safe again. And when the pandemic is over, can we do something about bullying in our schools where 1 in 5 students report being bullied whilst on school premises? Actually, no - we need to deal with that at the same time. We cannot let bullying slide, in any sphere of our lives. We can chew gum and walk.

I wrote a blog a few weeks back about solidarity, the need for a union of students, parents and teachers working from an evidence base. The best practice covid principles are outlined in the IndependentSAGE report on schools listed above. This blog on solidarity lists the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, a study on Right to Health in terms of the English Government's response to COVID and other pertinent pieces of Law and legislation. 

The Good Law Project are also engaged in helping parents present a legal position on this, and they are experts. 

I'm just a shouty auld git with a guitar and a laptop. This matter needs the majority of citizens on the case. Please get on the case.

Then this on October 1st. Johnson's most important metric. And he's lying, of course.
#MESA
#MakeEducationSafeAgain
#SchoolStrike2021





Kindest regards

Corneilius

"Do what you love, it is your gift to universe."

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