Thursday, July 23, 2020

Covid-19 Dangers Present Opportunity for Dallas ISD, Testimony to Board

It was very impressive to listen to the 20 or so teachers who spoke before me today about the dangers of returning to the classroom. I will not repeat that data but will add one source of related data not yet mentioned.

I have spent hundreds of hours searching for a nation or state that successfully started schools face to face with a daily infection rate above 5 per 100,000 population.  No such place exists.  Dallas County has an infection rate 8 times greater than that!  How can we start in-person school with only failures in the nationwide and the international record with starting schools with infection rates even lower than our rates here in Dallas?

We have the opportunity of introducing our students to accelerated online learning.  This will push our students into the future ahead of their time.   If we do it correctly, this will be known as a time of accelerated achievement.

First, we have teachers who overwhelmingly do not want to have in-person classes that expose their students and themselves to potential Covid-19 infections.

Second, we have hundreds of thousands of adults at home, retired or unemployed, including grandparents and other relatives, who would find great satisfaction in helping our students as online tutors.  We also have the screening systems needed to screen and clear large numbers of volunteers for this sensitive work.

Third, the technology exists to have all tutoring be recorded and monitored at random by the teachers and other DISD staff for safety and meeting academic goals.

Fourth, most of you know of the School Time Capsule Project that is now 16 years old in Dallas ISD.  It is being moved to an online version so that students can more easily secure the family history letters from parents and relatives also addressing their dreams for the students.  Increasing the focus on life goals and dreams for the future will help students realize the importance of these online classes.  Hopefully, the parents and/or grandparents can even become online tutors for the students.  Motivated students change everything!

Today's decisions could set up our students for great steps forward, or for increased illness and, God forbid, even death if you are wrong. The School Board must not respond to anything other than the best interest of our children.

Thank you for the work you do.