The First Ward Report – Remote learning is a farce – on two levels!

The First Ward Report – Remote learning is a farce – on two levels!

Since most of you (my astute regular readers excluded) don’t have the good sense God gave a fricken’ billy goat, I’ve been avoiding those insipid COVID social media debates like a real plague. But when my longtime friend and U-46 School District Superintendent, Tony Sanders, posted “If you think I’m delaying the return to school for political reasons, you could not be further from the truth,” I couldn’t let that go!

Because nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m not accusing Tony of any obvious deceit. As that great philosopher George Costanza once advised, “Jerry! It’s not a lie if you believe it.” But the fact that Tony has convinced himself it was the right thing to do doesn’t make it any less of a lie.

Like many other Illinois school superintendents, he clearly caved to the progressive mob’s pandemic porn pandering politics and baseless bad advice from most health department government employees perpetually petrified of their own shadows. The truth is there is no math or science that supports remote learning.

All that nanny-state howling regarding the risks of returning to the classroom notwithstanding, the numbers tell us quite a different story. And if you take the time to review the Illinois Department of Public Health website, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

As of this morning, 41 Illinoisans age 0 to 29 have perished from virus, and while every death diminishes me, according to that same IDPH, in 2018:

  • 1,525 1 to 24-year-olds died in accidents
  • 366    were murdered
  • 201    took their own lives, and
  • 91      died of cancer.

And that’s just 1 to 24-year-olds. Add the 25 to 29 age group and those numbers would be far higher.

Considering those leading causes of young deaths, why haven’t we:

  • Banned cars or shut down the roads
  • Adequately funded DCFS to better prevent child murders
  • Adequately funded a mental health safety net to better prevent suicides
  • Devoted just 0.1 percent of the defense budget to battling juvenile cancer

Moving on to teacher-aged (20 to 59) Illinoisans, according to the IDPH 1,142 have succumbed to the virus, and the CDC said that, for 94 percent of them, a serious prior medical condition played a major role in their deaths

Meanwhile, for Illinoisans aged 25 to 64, in 2018:

  • 7,125 perished from a form heart disease
  • 6,512 died of cancer
  • 3,618 were killed in accidents
  • 1,059 committed suicide, and
  • 619    were homicide victims

Yet the progressive mob refuses to address that:

  • 80 percent of heart disease is eminently preventable (CDC)
  • 45 percent of cancer deaths are preventable (American Cancer Society)
  • We don’t shut down the roads
  • We won’t invest in a reasonable mental health network, and
  • We refuse to address that insistent Chicago weekend carnage

And we all know EXACTLY what would happen if our school districts implemented a teacher maximum weight and non-smoking requirement – for their own good, of course!

The evidence-based truth is, according to a study by the National Center for Biology Information, “People <65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 death even in pandemic epicenters and deaths for people <65 years without underlying predisposing conditions are remarkably uncommon.”

Furthermore, where were all you bleeps during the 2017-18 flu season? Again! According to the CDC, 107 Americans under 18 have died of the coronavirus, but the CDC also noted that 643 0 to 18-year-olds died from that particularly bad flu. But where was all the clamoring for masks, social distancing, and remote learning back then?


Don’t even try to give me that “but the children will take it home to their grandparents,” bovine manure because they won’t. According to those fine Census folks:

  • 2.6 percent of non-Hispanic white households
  • 5.6 percent of black households, and
  • 7.1 percent of Hispanic households

involve at least one grandparent. And the reason they made it to that advanced age is THEY KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES. They certainly don’t need your help!

Then there’s “We know we’re generally wrong about the plague, but we’re gonna hang out hats on those anecdotal COVID long-term effects,” argument. Some folks clearly do have ongoing issues, but neither the CDC nor Mayo Clinic have provided any kind of statistical basis for that argument. And how many times do I have to say that the virus ain’t going anywhere, we’re only slowing it down!

But despite an epic asthma epidemic affecting more than 24 million Americans putting the pandemic to shame, the very same folks who shriek about long-term COVID side effect have no problem lighting up their backyard firepits which send neighboring asthmatic children running for their inhalers or to the Emergency Room.

Bleepin’ hypocrites.

What Superintendent Sanders failed to understand is, per this amazing Tribune op-ed piece by Notre Dame history professor Patrick Griffin, “At Notre Dame, we see that life entails risks.” Exactly! There’s absolutely no science-based support for this remote learning “cure” that’s so much worse than the disease. Talk about lasting side effects! That developmental damage will continue to haunt our children for years to come!

Lastly, it doesn’t take an epidemiologist, most of whom change their minds more often than Donald Trump changes cabinet members, to accurately apply math to any numeric progression like the stock market, a political campaign, or a pandemic. That means, despite his protests and best intentions, the evidence makes it abundantly clear that Superintendent Sanders, a man who generally makes sound decisions, delayed the return to school solely for political reasons. We all make mistakes.


Part 2 on ridiculous remote learning will arrive on Thursday.


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