An NPR education reporter shows how the pandemic disrupted children’s lives—and how our country has nearly always failed to put our children first
The onset of COVID broke a 150-year social contract between America and its children. Tens of millions of students lost what little support they had from the government—not just school but food, heat, and physical and emotional safety. The cost was enormous.
But this crisis began much earlier than 2020. In The Stolen Year, Anya Kamenetz exposes a long-running indifference to the plight of children and families in American life and calls for a reckoning.
She follows families across the country as they live through the pandemic, facing loss and resilience: a boy with autism in San Francisco who gains a foster brother and a Hispanic family in Texas that loses a member to COVID, and finds solace when they need it most. Kamenetz also recounts the history that brought us to this point: how we thrust children and caregivers into poverty, how we over-police families of color, how we rely on mothers instead of infrastructure. And how our government, in failing to support our children through this tumultuous time, has stolen years of their lives.
Journalist Kamenetz (Generation Debt) delivers a compassionate study of how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted schoolchildren and their families. Drawing on interviews with children and parents across the U.S. and her own experiences as the mother of two young daughters, Kamenetz documents "high levels of chronic absence and disengagement from school" following the shift to remote learning in 2020, and reports that former secretary of education Betsy DeVos "diverted a disproportionate share of federal relief funds to private schools" during the pandemic, while resisting calls for the Department of Education to take the lead in directing schools how to safely reopen. Noting that U.S. public schools were closed for more than twice as long as those in the U.K. and China, Kamenetz cites evidence that the absence of America's "most broadly accessible welfare institutions" caused food insecurity to double, even as many children gained weight due to a lack of exercise. She also claims that student-organized protests over the murder of George Floyd by police provided "catharsis, after a season of confinement and monotony," and sketches how parents and teachers can foster children's "posttraumatic growth." Striking an expert balance between the big picture and intimate profiles of students, teachers, parents, and school officials, this is an astute and vital first draft of history.
Focus your blame at the local level, not the Trump Admin.
Stop trying to shift the blame on the Trump administration and the “quack” remedies that arent so quack anymore now with all of the info that is coming out now about it.