Public-health experts say: Reopen schools! and other commentary

Public-health experts: Reopen Schools!

Though no fans of President Trump, Harvard public-health professors Benjamin Sommers, Joseph Allen, Sarah Bleich and Jessica Cohen agree with him in The Boston Globe: “Schools can — and should — reopen” in the fall. Just “listen to the science,” which shows that the spring school closures have, among other things, “led to months of lost learning and widened gaps in educational achievement.” At the same time, studies show children are “less likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19,” half as likely to “get infected in the first place” and “less likely than adults to” transmit it to others. Yes, schools would need to “implement proven risk-reduction strategies” — but that’s no reason to keep them closed. “Listen to the evidence,” in other words: Let kids learn in person.

Culture critic: A Theocracy of the Woke

“Woke-ism is fast becoming the new state religion,” Ben Weingarten ­laments at Newsweek — “the ultimate tool of cynical, radically leftist power-grabbers.” Its main principle — that “America is a deplorable, irredeemable nation”— isn’t new among leftists, but only recently have our elites “mainstreamed” it. Politicians such as Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo, among others, have let “the Woke flood the streets” to start “rioting and looting with impunity” while banning Christians and Jews from practicing their religion, and the ideology has even spread to the federal financial and security establishments. Such a situation portends the undermining of our founding principles and “dismantling of our system” — leading, in the end, to “a theocracy of the woke.”

Libertarian: Our Worsening Economic Crisis

New data show that “permanent business closures” are “on the rise ­nationwide, even as consumer activity continues to slowly increase,” ­reports Reason’s Eric Boehm, with even big businesses “now making further cuts.” Restaurants “have been hardest hit.” No matter how much they reopen, after all, “there’s no substitute for a packed house on Friday night,” which is “simply not realistic right now.” Even federal assistance and loans “may end up merely having flattened the curve” of job losses. Worse, we have no solution right now: The economy will only reopen if most Americans “feel safe going out to restaurants and stores again,” which won’t happen “until the number of coronavirus cases and deaths start falling” — “a vicious cycle for the country and death spiral for many businesses.”

Conservative: An Octogenarian Tyranny

“American politics is getting senile,” blasts Daniel McCarthy in The Spectator. Polls show that the public is about to turn its back against President Trump. Yet “his defeat does not promise to be a source of renewal — not when the alternative is a 77-year-old former vice president.” Joe Biden represents and/or outright committed all the major foreign-policy and economic blunders of his generation of establishment leaders. And joining him will be an equally old and discredited Democratic leadership in the House, including “the chamber’s oldest ever Speaker (80-year-old Nancy Pelosi), an even older House majority leader (Steny Hoyer, 81) and a third octogenarian as majority whip (James Clyburn, 80).” Predictably, given the two parties’ aging power base, their programs are downright “stale” and “decrepit.”

Education desk: No to a Federal School Bailout

“Almost half of House Democrats” want “an additional $305 billion for an 18-month ‘stabilization’ fund for K-12 public schools” — a “massive increase in federal taxpayer spending” that’s “at least a year too early for Congress to consider,” economist Benjamin Scafidi worries at The Washington Examiner. “Instead, public schools should follow the lead from the private sector by right-sizing their staffing models,” starting by considering if they really “need to increase staff endlessly.” If they need money after that, they should “rely on state and school-district reserve funding first” — and if all of those sources don’t work out, then Congress can consider a bailout. Instead of asking for a congressional bailout now, though, school districts should “weather the storm” by starting to “rethink their priorities.”

— Compiled by Karl Salzmann & Sohrab Ahmari

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