Coronavirus

Public School Superintendent Who Warned Pod-Based Learning 'Causes Inequities' Is Sending His Own Kid to Private School

Alexandria City Public Schools is still in virtual mode, and top education official Gregory Hutchings has enrolled his child elsewhere.

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Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Superintendent Gregory Hutchings has always been proud to call himself a parent of two children who attend public school. Until recently, his website and Twitter biography both made reference to his children's enrollment in ACPS.

But now, Hutchings has pulled one of his kids from ACPS—which remains all-virtual, to the frustration of many parents—and instead enrolled the child in a private Catholic high school currently following a hybrid model: some distance learning, and some in-person education.

"I can confirm that our family made a decision to change my daughter's school this school year," said Hutchings in a statement to Theogony, the student newspaper of ACPS's T.C. Williams High School, which first broke the news. "Decisions like these are very personal family decisions and are not taken lightly. This in no way impacts my absolute lifelong, commitment to public education, to which I remain as personally dedicated as ever."

The superintendent's office confirmed the statement in an email to Reason.

It's hard to blame Hutchings for trying to do right by his own child. But he is in a position to do right by thousands of other kids who don't have the same opportunity to simply opt-out of a completely inadequate Zoom education: He could prioritize reopening APCS, which is slated to remain all-virtual for the entire fall semester. One wonders why some in-person learning has been deemed a necessity for some families, but not others.

Moreover, Hutchings previously expressed concerns about parents seeking alternative educational arrangements. In a July 23 virtual conversation with parents and teachers detailing the district's fall plans, Hutchings fretted that in-person learning pods would cause some students to get ahead of their Zoom-based public school counterparts.

"The concern I have about that is, if this is something that's occurring for people who have the means in regards to bring in dollars and hire somebody and get their kids together, we can cause inequities," he said. "Even though we are intending to do the right thing, it can cause some inequities if some kids can do things and others can't."

Later during the conversation, Hutchings described pod-based learners as "privileged."

"If you're able to put your child in a learning pod, your kids are getting ahead," he said. "The other students don't get that same access."

Students enrolled in pod-based learning, private tutoring, or private schooling that involves in-person instruction are indeed better off than those languishing in virtual education. But that's a failure of public schools, which have largely chosen to privilege the demands of unions over the needs of children.

"Teachers unions have been an influential force against reopening schools even in cities and states where elected officials felt it could be done with reasonable safety," notes New York magazine's Jonathan Chait in a recent article. "The language and the logic of the pro-closing activism has treated the scientific case against in-person learning as a hardened fact."

Contrary to the macabre insistence of union leadership that school reopenings would result in mass death, in-person learning is now taking place all over the country with minimal evidence of significant COVID-19 spread. Families of means are making arrangements for their children to learn alongside other children—in person, the way it should be. Alexandria's school superintendent has made this choice for his own child. And yet the schools under his authority remain shuttered.

NEXT: Cuomo Clamps Down on New York Churches and Schools (Again)

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  1. Well of course he would, he’s not one of the peasants.

    1. Do as I say, not as I do.

      1. He may be a lot of things but he ain’t stupid.

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    2. Somebody has to be trained for the menial jobs that Americans don’t want.

    3. https://twitter.com/Popehat/status/1313923071007318016

      come get your boy dopehat Reason.

      Amazing. This is the beltway lib mentality running this place.

      What a joke.

    4. “Education for mine, but not for thine!”

  2. What a surprise….a completely hypocritical Team D educator.

    The man should shut his fucking mouth about any parent choosing private education for their children over his shittily-run schools.

    1. It should be a condition of employment in the public education system that your own family has to attend. Same with election to any office with public school oversight and any position in the Department of Education. That would change some shit quick.

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      2. Your point is interesting, but you know this will just mean that the privileged go to the privileged public schools, or go to the privileged class at the school.

        These people have played this game for many, many years.

      3. I dunno. I might want some leaders who admit the schools aren’t good enough for their own kids.

        1. Ah, but they will never admit that the public schools aren’t good enough for your kids.

      4. And what should someone do if their ex-wife has custody of children?

        And what should someone do if they have no children?

        And must an employer be informed of illegitimate children from a mistress?

        Clever idea, but completely unenforceable.

  3. Are school boards subject to recall petitions?

    1. He’s a superintendent, hired by the school board, and thus not subject to recall. If anything, he’s subject to being fired, which I find quite unjustifiable for a decision to educate his kids in the way he deems fit. Let’s not go there.

      That said, he’s a double hypocrite, not only for forcing others to not get what he would admit is a preferable education while his kids get their preferable education, but also for attacking privilege he takes, but only in other people.

      Let’s also understand that this is the superintendent of a school system who wants to pull all kids down to the lowest common denominator. Next up, nobody gets to learn any more than the dumbest kid in school can handle… again, cuz fairness. Fire this little weasel.

      1. However, the parents can get together and fire the school board at the ballot box if this doesn’t get fixed.

  4. As a Chinese provisioner once said: Supplies, supplies, supplies!

    1. Ohhh I thought he was saying surprise!

  5. Later during the conversation, Hutchings described pod-based learners as “privileged.”

    They are. They have parents who actually want their kids to have an education.

  6. “The concern I have about that is, if this is something that’s occurring for people who have the means in regards to bring in dollars and hire somebody and get their kids together, we can cause inequities,” he said. “Even though we are intending to do the right thing, it can cause some inequities if some kids can do things and others can’t.”

    Jesus Fucking Christ, can there be anything more evil than insisting that those capable of getting ahead must be held back lest those less capable fall behind? I mean, the guy’s not talking about giving better opportunities to the less fortunate, he’s straight-up talking about making damn sure the more fortunate don’t get better opportunities. The Titanic didn’t have enough lifeboats, rather than urging those who can get to a lifeboat to do so and those who can’t to grab whatever they can find that floats, this guys insisting we have to sink all the lifeboats out of some sense of fairness.

    1. Hey, this book by Vonnegut gives me an idea…

      /Gregory Hutchings

      1. Drop some ice-nine in the ocean and consider the experiment over?

      2. Firebomb Dresden?

      3. Take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut?

      4. no damn cat, and no damn cradle.

    2. To limit others based on the slowest, dumbest, laziest, etc. is truly the most evil expression of people with the equity fetish.

      We might have thought that natural selection, either biological or cultural, would have weeded out the luddites. (And similarly the thrill seekers.). I suspect the humans that have too much compulsive compassion for keeping the losers in the gene pool.

      1. At least the Luddites were looking after their own interests. That’s understandable. What does the school bureaucracy get out of holding back other people’s kids?

        1. Nothing besides virtue signaling and pandering for votes.

        2. Union dues, above median annual pay for working 3/4ths of the year, and usually state employee benefits.

    3. An asshole in my school district tried doing the same thing. He started a petition to close the schools until there is a vaccine. The schools offer a virtual, hybrid and in person program. When other parents told him to just use the Virtual option and leave us to do what works for us, he literally insisted it was unfair because our kids would advance faster than his.

      1. Locally, the Spring instruction was “virtual”. The district quickly setup Google classrooms and video meets. Some students didn’t have capable computers or internet connections. The district decided not to teach any student if they couldn’t teach all students. Combined with a delayed start to the current school year, the kids got an extra 3 months for their Summer break.

  7. Progressives and the liberal mob are the most hypocritical creatures that ever walked the earth.

    1. Any “libertarian” criticizing the D’s and sucking R dick is not a true libertarian; both parties are corrupt as fuck.

      1. It is possible to both criticize dems and not suck R d…. as you say. Two things can be true at once, wow!!

  8. As usual just fuck the government and every democrat in it.

  9. does he have singular authority to fully reopen his district?

    1. That was my thought as well. He probably has to cater to teacher’s unions.

    2. That was my initial question and then I read his complaints about parents who paid for a better experience…

      1. I propose that this asshole have a paycheck that does not exceed the lowest paid household of any child in his district. Cuz fairness.

        And then let’s shutter Harvard and tell the snowflakes to go flip burgers cuz fairness. Not everyone can afford to go to Harvard.

  10. Does this make Hutchings an Oreo?

    1. he be…………ENTITLED

  11. This focus on “a falling tide lifts all boats” is crazy. But they really believe this. I belong to a private country club in Orange County, CA. When the O.C. Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead for golf courses to re-open, with Covid restrictions, the mayor of my city wouldn’t allow our course to open because the public course in the city wasn’t able to conform to the guidelines. Her rationale, given publicly in the newspaper and in an e-mail exchange with me was that it’s not fair if people of means can recreate and others can’t.

    1. So idiotic. And why was it that the city course couldn’t comply in the same way? Really wish the OC Board of Supervisors would do more for its constituents in light of the lunacy of our governor.

    2. The Orange Curtain has fallen. You might as well rejoin Los Angeles County.

      1. took longer than I expected ……… I bailed out in late 90’s and was thinking by 2005 for the curtain

  12. When it’s a looter’s kid or money, thass different.

  13. Decisions like these are very personal family decisions…

    Ahem.

    1. “Decisions like these are very personal family decisions…”

      Or, as they used to say in the Soviet Union: “this is an internal matter!”

    2. Yeah, it’s like Cunningham, running for Senate in NC demanding family privacy when his affair became public. I [likely] feel for his wife, but otherwise don’t care who he screws. But given politics and mass media, if you’re gonna fuck someone not your wife while running for national office, you’re too stupid to occupy a Senate seat and don’t get to claim “private matter” when your ass is exposed.

      Likewise here, if you’re gonna bitch about people making personal decisions, don’t make the same one and then claim exclusion because it’s a personal decision.

      1. That’s his “privilege”

  14. Then he should resign from this lucrative public school position and move on. I don’t see how any PUBLIC school administrator, chancellor, teacher and so on can on one hand opt for private education while out of the other side of their mouths claim to support public schools on any level…that’s ridiculous. It is unlikely when they have zero skin in the game (i.e. their own children in the same or similar public school environment) that they will ever be fully invested….why would they? Does anyone believe this nonsense from public schools? I can’t wait for my kids to be out of this nightmare education system in this country…I wished I had done home schooling with them early on but then I never thought public schools would become such a garbage dump of indoctrination, immoral teachings and just plain partisan incompetence. It’s too bad as I know individual teachers who truly care but my advice to them…go to a private school where you’ll be appreciated…

    1. There are a lot of sketchy things here by this guy, but I disagree with this train of thought. Should someone who manages public housing be required to live in public housing? Should managers of a public transit system be forbidden from driving a car?

      1. Ordinarily no. Not unless that same official presumes that others should live at that public housing level and give up their auto, but does not do it himself. People who advocate for others to lose their rights should not retain them, if nothing else than out of principle.

        I have no issue with him making his own personal family decisions and doing what’s best for his kid so long as he doesn’t whine about others doing the same thing that he’s doing. He deserves to be told to put up or shut up.

      2. It reeks of the ‘only women can talk about women’s issues’ mindset.

        If he didn’t have such a public opposition to school choice, it really wouldn’t be an issue.
        Would anyone object to Betsy Devos holding her position if she had children in private school? No. It’s exactly what you’d expect given her public support for school choice. The fact that he doesn’t abide feel the need to stand by his public position is the issue.

        Chris Cuomo, Nancy Pelosi, and Chris Christie are his associates in this hypocrisy.

  15. Yeah well that bow tie tells me everything I need to know about this guy.

    1. The glasses aren’t doing him any favors, for that matter. Sort of an officious douchebag ensemble, with the bright blue suit (or jacket). It screams dishonest career administrator/petty tyrant.

  16. Superintendent Gregory Hutchings If you don’t want one set of students getting ahead of another group then you should support all schools (no private schools allow to exist) teach the same subjects throughout the nation. No longer would the schools need to write a syllabus since that would be written in Washington DC and sent to the states. Teachers would not need to have a degree because all they would need to do is read the syllabus and do what it says. But then there could be no advanced students who could do higher level work. Evey would have be equal. But that is a solution that will destroy this nation from within.

    1. More applicable, his level of education with degrees from Old Dominion, George Mason, and College of William and Mary have allowed him to enjoy substantial advantage over 99+% of the rest of the country. As such, I’m sure he will gladly bring his own salary down from the $250K per year down to the average teacher salary of $40K. It’s not fair that he has such an advantage.

  17. Where de VP debate thread, Peanuts?

    We have a say-anything no-core beliefs former AG vs a Bible-beating Fundie-Nut ex Govnor! Who will be the bitch tonight?

    Let the biggest asshole win!

    1. Or a contrast between a compulsive liar with delusions of power and a compulsive evangelical with delusions of Jesus?

      1. Both delusional then. Rare agreement here.

    2. What is the origin of this idiotic “Peanuts” affectation? The allusion completely eludes me.

      1. Years ago one of the primary editors of ‘Reason’ referred to the commentariat at H&R the “Peanut Gallery”.

        1. Ah, that makes sense. I probably wasn’t a regular commenter back then.

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  19. “Theogony, the student newspaper of ACPS’s T.C. Williams High School, which first broke the news”

    Good for them! I’d say they should go on to work for news outlets, but that may be bad economic advice. And their work might not be appreciated because it would make their lazy-ass colleagues look bad.

  20. This is odd. Halfway through the debate, Kamala Harris seems to be getting fatigued. I would have thought she’d have more stamina.

    1. Not in an upright position.

    2. Must have been a problem with the hidden microphone.

  21. I bet his wife told him to stfu.

  22. Pence is one of those Fundie-Nut Jerry Falwell types who likes watching other dudes fuck his wife.

  23. Pence has an incredible orator’s voice, the voice of a televangelist. But he never directly answers questions posed to him—not just in this debate, but ever—so instead of inspiring confidence, it ends up sounding like an irritating affectation and makes him look slippery. It’s a major turnoff.

    Harris just comes across as a hateful scold. She tries to soften her razor-wire demeanor with a smile, but it just makes her look disingenuous, especially since she never succeeds in scrubbing the snide condescension from her tone. She gives the impression of being a woman who would give you a handjob with a loofah and relish every second of it. You just want to slap her smug face.

    1. Harris is very Hillaryesque. She tries to come across as human, but can’t quite pull it off.

    2. Politicians don’t know what an actual debate is. Then again, most listeners would actually know what a debate is either or how to score one. These are merely exercises in repeating talking points, calling the other one names, and then everyone smugly declaring victory to their constituents and their own pandering media propagandists. As icing, all the political bloggers race to upload more “proof” they were right all along and declare that their guy “crushed” the other one.

      Facebook lights up, everyone starts a dumpster fire and goes to bed angry, and whichever one you were going to vote for before is the one you will vote for again. I refuse to watch the shit because as an intelligent human being, I’m ashamed of every aspect of this as well as the rest of the show.

  24. My gawd. Pence may be a weasel, but Harris is an utter twunt.

    1. Not to mention that whiny, pseudo-sympathetic tone of hers. I’d want to crack her across the head if I was there.

      1. A woman in her fifties who is running for the second highest office in the land shouldn’t sound like she’s desperately clinging to the last vestiges of fading adolescence.

        1. She sounded like she should be narrating an ASPCA ad.

  25. At least we now have a definitive answer on whether or not the Dems will pack the USSC if they win.

    Right?

  26. Heaven forbid that some students learn *more*. Hmm. I flatter myself that I’ve imparted a fair amount of knowledge to my nephews on subjects I work with or am well-read on. In fact, some tiny part of my nephew’s success in the tech field may be my fault! I may have given him an inequitable advantage! (Nerd privilege?) Now I see what an awful person I am.

    1. Don’t tell anyone, but thanks to my mother, I was able to read quite well before I started school. I even did simple crossword puzzles.

  27. “This in no way impacts my absolute lifelong, commitment to public education, to which I remain as personally dedicated as ever.”

    It kinda does though.

    1. My public schoolteacher father and my mother, who eventually went to work for our county, sent all 9 of us to Catholic school. They did that mostly for religious reasons, but it was an open secret that teachers had a tendency to send their kids to the best schools they could afford. Those who didn’t want to pay tuition or wanted to avoid religious instruction, generally or of a certain type, ponied up to buy a house in a suburban district whose gubmint schools had the best reputation. For my school years we lived one district over, so had I gone to publik skool my Dad wouldn’t have taught nor coached me. The wife of one of my Dad’s colleagues once cracked to my Mom: “You private school parents are so enthusiastic, volunteering all time at your school! That’s one reason why we should only have the public schools, so all children could benefit from that!” What a disconnect from reality! The volunteer Moms at my school did things employees did at the public schools. If they didn’t do them, we’d either have done without or tuition would have been raised to hire people, forcing more students to transfer to gubmint institutions.

      1. Doctors are some of those who insist on private health care at their homes, rather than using nursing homes.

        Accountants refer their friends to other accountants, rather than using chain tax preparers.

        Even fast food workers will steer their friends to other food businesses.

        No one likes what they know best.

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  30. And, of course, the “answer” isn’t to get the slower students up to speed, but to slow the faster ones down. Deliberately and consciously urging harming students. What kind of monster does that?

  31. Decisions like these are very personal family decisions and are not taken lightly.

    That’s why I made the personal decision for everyone else’s families.

  32. “Just as members of American teachers unions often send their own children to private schools, so unionized workers at government-run hospitals in Britain have insurance that allows them to go to private hospitals. In both cases, those on the inside realize how bad these institutions are, regardless of what they say to those on the outside.” – Thomas Sowell

  33. Me, thee, principals, principles, you know the drill. Would favor the woodchipper.

  34. Though I’m sure all of us can agree that in person school is generally superior for virtually every kid, I had to pull my kid OUT of in person school because the atmosphere created by the “Covid-Uber-Alle” approach. Just as politicians have done by ignoring the negative externalities of their Covid policy, the school has followed suit.

    It’s like a mix between 1984 and Gattaca at his school because of their policies. All masks, all the time, even outdoors, and during PE when doing strenuous exercising. Plexiglass separating everyone all of the time. They’re made to wear surgical gloves in order to participate in infinitesimally low risk activities like throwing frisbee or playing ball. Constant PA messaging reminding them to “Please maintain proper social distancing.” Constant propagandizing about how “we’re doing important work” and “helping save lives.”

    They even tried to force parents to wear masks in our cars when dropping off/picking up our children because of the “danger” posed by opening the door and potentially exposing those outside.

    It’s a toxic atmosphere. What was a place of true community has turned in to a hyper-sterilized, cold place where kids are told every second that it’s “not safe” to be kids, despite the overwhelming evidence showing CV as essentially a non-factor for kids, and virtually everyone else who isn’t over the age of 80, but that teen depression and suicide have spiked severely BECAUSE of the isolation combined with severe restrictions put on their lives. This is definitely a case of the cure being worse than the disease. Once again the precautionary principle is running amok, making bad situations worse.

  35. In the state I live the county with the highest rated schools in the state and among the highest in the nation had 1/3 of teachers there sending their kids to private schools.
    Let’s end this nonsense. Vouchers for all.

  36. We homeschool our kiddo. Many moms in the homeschool group are former public school teachers.

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