The Press-Dispatch

July 29, 2020

The Press-Dispatch

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The Press-Dispatch Wednesday, July 29, 2020 B-9 OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg Race for the Cure By Star Parker Lucid Moments By Bart Stinson Open schools this fall President Donald Trump an- nounced at the White House his unequivocal commitment to get- ting America's schools back open. "So what we want to do is we want to get our schools open," he said. "We want to get them open quick- ly, beautifully, in the fall." When the COVID-19 crisis was just beginning to grip the nation in March, parents were already con- cerned about the impact of school closings on their child's education. A Gallup poll showed 42 percent of parents expressing concern that the crisis would have a negative ef- fect on their child's learning. Of these parents, the most con- cern was among nonwhite parents, with 52 percent concerned, com- pared with white parents, 36 per- cent of whom were concerned. Nearly twice as many nonwhite parents, 39 percent, compared with 21 percent of white parents, said the school year should be extended in- to the summer months if schools re- main closed for the remainder of the regular school year. A new report from the Los Ange- les Unified School District, the na- tion's second largest school district, sharpens the picture regarding why parents, particularly black and Lati- no parents, are concerned. According to the report, 67 per- cent of Latino and 67 percent of black middle school students have been actively participating in on- line classes. Among high school stu- dents, 73 percent of Latino and 71 percent of black students have been actively participating. This compared with 88 percent of white middle school students and 85 percent of white high school stu- dents. Two prestigious organizations now urge that schools reopen and emphasize how critically important physical presence is in education. The American Academy of Pedi- atrics has issued its "Guidance for School Re-entry" report. It provides extensive guidance for safe reopen- ing and operation of schools. It be- gins saying: "(T)he A AP strongly advocates that all policy consider- ations for the coming school year should start with a goal of hav- ing students physically present in school. The importance of in-per- son learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020." Now the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Med- icine has published its new report with a press release headline read- ing, "Schools Should Prioritize Re- opening in Fall 2020, Especially for Grades K-5, While Weighing Risks and Benefits." "Without in-person instruction, schools risk children falling behind academically and exacerbating ed- ucational inequities," according to the release. Both the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have sug- gested the possibility of withhold- ing federal funding from schools that refuse to reopen. Who has been on the front line pushing back against the president? Yes, of course, the teachers unions. "No one should listen to Trump, DeVos on reopening schools," says the president of the National Edu- cation Association in a recent head- line. No surprise. The NEA's priority has never been educating children. Its priority is protecting its mem- bers — teachers. Teachers get paid whether schools are open or not. What do leaders of teachers unions care about the hard work needed to create a safe envi- ronment now so children can be physically present in school — the only real viable option for learning? They don't care. Most recently, both the major teachers unions, the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers, filed briefs in the Espinoza v. Mon- tana Department of Revenue case urging the court to rule in favor of the state to deny tax credit-financed scholarships to parents who want to send their children to religious schools. Fortunately, in this landmark case, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs: the mothers who filed Continued on page 11 Continued on page 10 Continued on page 11 Continued on page 10 Continued on page 10 White privilege is sneaky There was a ritual when we vis- ited my grandma in Evansville. Be- fore we got out of the driveway and entered the house, weather per- mitting, she took my dad on a walk to show him all the improvements she'd made since his last visit. She described the projects in detail as her youngest son dutifully compli- mented all her handiwork. She was in the habit of using the first-person singular, as in "I built this fence" or "I moved this tree be- cause it was starting to shade my garden." She had a husband and, be- lieve you me, she got a day's work out of him. So we all understood that she meant "we" built this or that. But Grandpa couldn't resist ham- ming it up, staring in fake amaze- ment at his outstretched hands and telling us for the umpteenth time that he couldn't figure out how she did all the work, and he got all the callouses. The time has come to add my voice to the chorus of recent com- plaints against white privilege. You might have noticed that most of the complaints thus far have been vague and theoretical, even specu- lative. But mine is practical, immedi- ate and vivid: white privilege is kill- ing my back! As a cisgendered patriarchal white male, I'm so privileged that some- times I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. (Note to privileged white males: Absorbine helps some.) I don't really have a choice, so I still get up and go to work. But if I weren't so dang privileged, I'd stay home and binge-watch Hulu re-runs. Sometimes it's the little bones in my hands, but usually it's my back. When I get in a hurry or I forget to put on my work gloves, sometimes I tear my fingernails. White privilege is sneaky. It comes at you from a doz- en different directions. When I first entered the workforce nearly 50 years ago, we didn't know about white privilege. But there was talk of "economic justice" and "re- distribution of income." I was an ul- tra-liberal George McGovern sup- porter, and that all sounded pretty good to me. Like other people of my genera- tion, I thought it was self-evident that I deserved more money. I hadn't heard the apocryphal Willie Sutton quote that banks are where the mon- ey is, and I assumed money comes from the government. Where and how the government gets its mon- ey was a matter of supreme indiffer- ence to me. They should tax the dickens out of the greedy exploiters and overpaid bourgeois, and cut checks to us, the deserving. It's not that complicated. If a government can't do that, what good is it? Then I went to work on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline construction project: 12-15 hours per day, seven days per week, sleeping in camps, eating on our work buses. We went weeks at a time without seeing a town or a television. I thought the Bee Gees singing falsetto on my eight-track were a Black female trio because I'd never seen them on T V or in a magazine. I was a local-hire Alaskan laborer supporting itinerant welders, most- ly from Texas, Oklahoma and Ar- kansas. The pay was lavish by the standards of that decade, and word got out via news stories and word of mouth. Seattle and Vancouver young women perked right up and paid at- tention when you mentioned you were working on the Alaska pipe- line project. The Internal Revenue Service was on top of the situation, too. Alaska has no state income tax, but the stiff federal tax deductions from my pipe- line paychecks in those pre-Reagan years, when I filed single with zero dependents and minimal deductions, were a weekly discouragement. Still, I was pulling down the biggest mon- ey I would ever make, barely old enough to enter a bar. It was great to be making that kind of money at the beginning of my working life, but it was still the Alaskan wilderness and the Arc- tic climate. I worked mostly in the Brooks Range, which is the north- ernmost mountain range before the Arctic Ocean. While we were working on the line one morning, a grizzly bear got on School is about to start. From what I've been hearing from parents who have been discussing the new norms for their children's school- ing, I sense the parents themselves are apprehensive about the different schedules, different modes of learn- ing, different social distancing tech- niques, and many other unknowns. What different and difficult times for everyone. It has come to a point I have learned to shut off my listening ears. I am reaching a point I can just hope and pray this new form of education and learning will be effective for all who are pursuing their education. I came across an article about the ABCs of conforming to the new pan- demic challenges: 1-Avoid crowds if at all possible. 2-Beware of fake and inaccurate news. 3-Clean and sani- tize. 4-Don't go out unless it's real- ly necessary. 5 -Exert effort to eat healthy, exercise and sanitize. 6 -Fol- low guidelines. 7-Gather in small groups only. 8 -Hand sanitize. Wash hands frequently. 9 -Indoor activities are the best. Just be creative. 10 -Join the fight against Corona virus. 11-Kind acts to everyone lessen the burden and stress of this pandem- ic. 12-Love and respect one another. It assures surviv- al. 13-Meditate dai- ly. Pray frequently. 14-No handshakes. Just wave or say hi or nod. 15 - Of- fer help to others. 16 -Practice your passion. Focus on positive outlook all times. 17-Quaran- tine or isolate when required. 18 -Regular exercising is important. 19 -Social distancing can be hard but it helps prevent spread of the virus. 20 -Travel only if necessary. 21-Use masks. 22-Visit family and friends via electronic means such as Facebook, Facetime, Messenger, Viber and many other means to see loved ones. It is a great way to keep in touch. 23-Wash hands frequently. 24-Extra precautions by the elderly. 25 -Your awareness is a good virtue for prevention of the spread of the vi- rus. 26 -Zero face touching or hand- shakes. There you are. I hope this helps. Share it with everyone. • • • It seems there is more time to do things we have always planned to do but could not work them in in- to our previously busy sched- ules. I have found more time to read good books, view wholesome programs and shows on Youtube and Net- flix. A couple of books I bor- rowed from our local Barrett Memorial Library are worth- while reading. They are The Seven Pillars of Health and Stress Less by a family doctor, Don Colbert, MD. I have no financial interest in the company which pub- lished these books. Another one is Gratitude. Affirming the Good Things of Life by Melody Beattie. I recently discovered a good Net- flix series called Highway to Heaven directed by Michael Landon. The set- ting is during the good old days when life was simpler and more innocent. There were no unsavory language and there was always a good moral lesson at the end of each series. I try my best to also be active by doing yard work, doing favors for my children to babysit and entertain My Point of View By Dr. H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. The ABCs of learning during the pandemic Points to Ponder By Rev. Ford Bond He knows what you need Letter from the Editor By Andy Heuring Exercise your freedom to express opinions Scholars consider the Beatitudes the first public teaching of Jesus's ministry. Theses teachings are the opening part of the larger "Sermon On The Mount," which is consid- ered the pinnacle of ethical teach- ing among not only philosophy, but also religions. The "Sermon On The Mount" is a lightning bolt for those who heard it. Though many see Jesus as a radical reformer, His teaching is not exact- ly new. Anyone who considers these teachings can readily see their conti- nuity with the Torah [and larger Old Testament]. In addition, those who were strang- ers to the covenant of Israel would recognize Jesus as a sage; a philos- opher who calls people to re-orient their lives according to a virtuous vi- sion of the world. Jesus here is speaking as a proph- et; just as the prophets of the Old Tes- tament called the people of the cove- nant to reconsider their relationship with God, and go beyond the letter- of-the-law, and consider the deeper ramifications. The central message of the "Sermon On The Mount" is God is our Father who sees and cares about the heart, not just exter- nal righteous deeds, and religiosity—the same themes found in Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Right from the start, we find Jesu trying to connect the Word of God to His own people, while challenging the non-Jews to consider God beyond their conceptions. At the end of the sermon, the crowds are amazed, but this is not so much because the content is new but because of the clarity, strength, and authority-as would be said, "He taught with authority, and not as a scribe." Consider what Jesus is presenting to the crowd; His ethical demands are meant to show the impossibili- ty of being good, because He points to the heart as the reservoir of ac- tions and thoughts—not the rituals of attending to the Law of Moses. Consider one item: "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be sub- ject to judgment. Again, any- one who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,'[an insulting name] is answer- able to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool! ' will be in danger of the fire of hell [Matthew 5:21-22]. Jesus has created a crisis of faith in the Law of Moses. The observant Jew has no hope in achieving righ- teousness through the outward per- formance of the demands of the Law, but needs to flee to the grace of God and His righteousness. Reading the "Sermon On The Many of us were told the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed- nego from the Old Testament book of Daniel. We were told of their courage for standing up for their beliefs. We grew up with the lesson of stay- ing true to our beliefs, but we nev- er really thought in America, with our freedom of religion and free- dom of speech, we would ever be faced with this type of dilemma. Just to refresh our memory about the story, below is the third chap- ter of Daniel from the King James Version of The Holy Bible. 1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was three- score cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the gov- ernors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sher- iffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Ne- buchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebu- chadnezzar had set up. 4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psal- tery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: 6 And whoso falleth not down and wor- shipeth shall the same hour be cast in- to the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the na- tions, and the languages, fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebu- chadnezzar the king had set up. 8 Wherefore at that time certain Chal- deans came near, and accused the Jews. 9 They spake and said to the king Ne- buchadnezzar, O king, live forever. 10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psal- tery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of mu- sic, shall fall down and worship the gold- en image: 11 And whoso falleth not down and worship, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Me- shach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if ye be ready that at what time

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