Dire summer for children

With school cancelled, pools shuttered and beaches closed, this summer will test the patience of parents (“All the Reasons This Will Be a Bleak Summer for N.Y.C. Children,” The New York Times, Apr. 23).  For young people in the city in particular, the conditions will be worse because they have no place to escape the heat.

No one knows how long such changes will exist.  But what is predictable is that boredom, isolation and learning slippage will definitely make their appearance felt.  Youth employment programs that used to provide jobs for teens paying about $3,000 have been cut back or cancelled, further disappointing them.

When the lockdown is eventually lifted, the effects will be reflected in plummeting test scores.  The only positive thing I foresee is increased appreciation on the part of the public for the work that teachers do.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)



6 Replies to “Dire summer for children”

  1. I just spent a few days with a nine and seven year old whose school lives are now on the computer. They are managing great. I feel that parents and teachers might be scrambling but if you knew the daily pressures for play dates and lessons outside school put on little kids until the virus changed it all, you might see how they might enjoy a break. They’re not going to fall behind; they’ll adapt as humans do. It’s a chance to catch up with themselves and not be expected to have a lesson or play day every waking minute.
    The teachers have risen to the occasion and I’d say they and the parents are the ones having to scramble. The kids are doing fine. And will do fine.


    1. Interesting take on the covid-19 lockdown impact. Had not considered the argument that the lockdown gives over-programmed kids a respite from the over-programming. The lockdown probably will benefit most of the over-programmed kids. A possible downside for even the over-programmed kids is that the lockdown will — for many of those kids — eliminate all social contacts with peers and eliminate all opportunities for these kids to manage inter-personal relationships with other kids in the absence of adult supervision. For many over-programmed kids, major adverse effects of the over-programming are that the kids have little/no free time to just “play” with other kids and particularly to engage in play with other kids w/o an adult being there to help organize the play/resolve conflicts. The lockdown will exacerbate these adverse effects.

      But, agree with your basic argument — that is, that over-programmed kids are under too much hourly stress and the lockdown will give them a respite from that hourly stress (unless, of course, their at-home parents are at the far end of the involved-parent spectrum and see the lockdown as an opportunity to drill the kids even harder than the kids would be drilled at school or at soccer practice).


  2. I don’t like this piece. It’s very negative and you are making assumptions here with nothing to base them on. I imagine there is a great spectrum of how it will affect kids and likely some will truly suffer, but certainly not all. Sara and Elizabeth may benefit. You have no idea how they are run to death, parents too, to fulfill what has been determined they have to do. Maybe this is a time to ask why?


  3. dkhatt: Not all children come from intact homes. They need the guidance and support that come from teachers who have been trained to meet their needs. Yes, some children will adapt, but at what price?


  4. I think the major adverse impact of the covid-19 crisis on the schools will be a huge reduction in per-pupil spending as local/state govts’ tax revenue plummets while health costs and safety-net costs increase. Something will have to give in the local/state govts’ budgets (unless, of course, the feds come through with large bailouts for the local/state govts which, given the Republican Senate majority’s viewpoints, seems unlikely). K-12 and state university budgets will get cut and by a lot. We’ll see teacher layoffs and rising class size in K-12 and large increases in state university tuition.


  5. Labor Lawyer: You’re probably right about per-pupil spending. But push back will likely come from parents who are already overwhelmed by the work they’ve had to do with schools closed. We’re in uncharted waters now, with few precedents to guide us. The closest I can think of is what happened in New Orleans after Katrina hit.


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