School Choice

Are 'Pandemic Pods' a Symptom of the Public School Monopoly? A Soho Forum Debate

The University of Illinois' Jon Hale and Reason Foundation education analyst Corey DeAngelis go toe to toe

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"The latest in school segregation" is how the headline of a recent New York Times op-ed described private "pandemic pods," in which parents of K-12 students hire an in-person teacher while public schools remain online-only due to COVID-19 lockdowns. The pandemic pods, says the writer, "will exacerbate inequities, racial segregation and the opportunity gap within schools." Business Insider had a slightly different take, claiming the pods are "inequitable and inevitable" and "a dream come true for the school choice movement."

Are pandemic pods just the latest tool by which "nice white parents" supposedly use their financial and political clout to separate out their kids, thus increasing educational segregation? And is the solution to increase government spending on K-12 schools so that all parents will want to keep their kids in the public system?

That was the subject of an online Soho Forum debate held on Wednesday, September 16th, 2020. The Soho Forum is a monthly series sponsored by Reason and the debates are done Oxford-style, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event; the side that gains the most ground is victorious. 

Arguing for more government spending was Jon Hale, a professor of education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Arguing in favor of pods and other parental innovations was Corey DeAngelis, the director of school choice at the Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website. Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein moderated the debate.

Intro by Paul Detrick; edited by Ian Keyser.

Photo credits: Children: ID 44701033 © Whiteisthecolor | Dreamstime.com
House: ID 160026389 © Sabuhi Novruzov | Dreamstime.com
Teacher: ID 46875465 © Majivecka | Dreamstime.com

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  1. Public schools can’t die out fast enough.

    The decline in support for public schools is one of the main silver linings of this virus bullshit.

    1. The decline in support for public schools is one of the main silver linings of this virus bullshit.

      Indeed. The exasperation is getting tangible.

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    2. Public schools are the only thing keeping young Black men away from a life of destitution and crime!

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  2. There is no reason why black families or any other groups can’t form pandemic pods.

    The only people with an interest in making pods look bad are public school teachers, and virtue-signaling socialist radicals who send their kids to expensive private schools.

    1. There is no reason why black families or any other groups can’t form pandemic pods.

      And no reason to assume they aren’t. What do you suppose are the odds the NYT author actually looked into it?

  3. Are pandemic pods just the latest tool by which “nice white parents” supposedly use their financial and political clout to separate out their kids, thus increasing educational segregation?

    No.

    Are pandemic pods just the latest tool by which “nice white relatively affluent parents, regardless of race, supposedly unsurprisingly use their financial and political clout to separate out their kids, thus increasing educational segregation?

    Yes. And no one in any non-political context whatsoever would see any problem with this. Next to no one thinks “I want my child in a shitty school because Social Justice.”

    1. “Next to no one thinks ‘I want my child in a shitty school because Social Justice.'”

      Dude, you hit the nail on the head with this. It’s astounding how much the mainstream culture has shifted these days. Didn’t we used to shame shitty parents who neglected their kids for being shitty people? Now it seems like the shittier of a parent you are, the more “empathy” you should get because its not your fault the taxpayer isn’t paying even higher property taxes than they already are to fund everything that your child needs to survive, including their food, education and healthcare.

  4. If the NYT is against it you know it’s probably good.

  5. And is the solution to increase government spending on K-12 schools so that all parents will want to keep their kids in the public system?

    There’s an unexamined assumption baked into this question.

  6. Okay, so send the kids back to school. Put a plexi-glass shield around the teacher’s desk, with a separate HEPA filter for air.

    1. That’s a good start but we can be safer. Put the teachers, administrators, and union reps in their own seperat air tight plexiglass boxes. In about 12 hours that will fix the ballooning spending in education, and gaurentee that those individuals will not die of covid, though their deaths will be declared due to covid

    2. The current plans I’ve heard are that the kids all go sit in the classroom, but the teacher teaches remotely via Zoom.

      Which should go over well.

  7. Schools in Sweden have remained open and I don’t think they use masks and there are so many teacher deaths that parents end up using pods anyway. At least for the few remaining kids that have survived.

    Those fools don’t listen to Science. They need to get religious on masks. Perhaps America can send over all of our virtual signalers to Sweden. That will teach them.

    https://news.yahoo.com/no-evidence-parents-and-teachers-are-much-more-infected-how-keeping-schools-open-affected-swedens-pandemic-140117335.html

    1. You know the difference between socialists in Minnesota and socialists in Sweden?
      Minnesota socialists can go to Walmart and buy guns, ammo, compound bows, slingshots, ball bearings, walkie-talkies, helmets, steel-toed boots, bear spray, kevlar, spray paint, crowbars, sledgehammers and gas cans… then go over to Target and loot more of the same shit without even paying for it!

    2. I hear Sweden is no longer on school geography maps in North America.

  8. Why do the people most concerned about institutional racism always want to give more money to the institutions that perpetuate racism.

    1. They do it because racial collectivism is collectivism–just the “wrong kind” when Theirguy does it. Fascists and communists cannot let go of that universe of discourse in which there are no libertarians and everything is a function of the altruistic initiation of force.

  9. THE KIDS DON’T DIE FROM THIS VIRUS…SO CLOSE THE SCHOOLS. the teacher are afraid of a virus so THEY call off the school year for their benefit and fear? you can’t make this shit up.

    the teachers unions should be very aware that they are being replaced by an internet connection and local teenagers who lead in person pods. this is the end of schooling. GOOD!

  10. I hate it when they don’t tell us who won the debate.

  11. Every _person says me about this post and..READ MORE

  12. Religious fanatics and mindless totalitarians share a penchant for making predictive suppositions and then drawing conclusions off of them as though that were a valid method of inference. “Come the Rapture, Come the Revolution, Come my opponent’s Inauguration” as major premises are symptoms of mental helplessness. Look at Jo. When she wants folks to draw a conclusion she says “every time X was tried, Y happened.” That leverages deduction and induction and gets the point across.

  13. Tar and feather them all.

    Fucken cowards and child abusers.

    I hate everyone in 2020.

  14. The leftist arguing in support of more money for public schools spends the largest part of his time insisting that pods and home schooling are racist. He seems to think that political indoctrination on victimization race theory is a public good that won’t be upheld if parents simply focus on things like reading and math. At 5:06 “Pandmic pods are grounded in racist history.” At 6:46 “…upwards of 75% of white people report that when they’re making these decisions end up discussing this matter with other white people… and with no presence of black families or families of color…”

  15. The leftist complains that “We can go back to South Carolina in 1740… and other southern states, that their first educational priority was to prohibit and prevent enslaved individuals and enslaved communities the right to read and write…” I guess if your white kid learns how to read, that stops a black kid from learning to read. Even if you used your own money to do it.

  16. Reason’s pro-school choice guy does pretty well. But he needs to stop using statistical jargon like “data sets”. What’s a NAPE score? Should I have to open another tab or should the debater just plan to have his audience understand him?

  17. The lefty gets worse in his first 5 minute rebuttal. He isn’t prepared to answer Reason’s guy who demanded a specific $ figure. So he says he wants “investment” that “doesn’t have to be money” and that we can best find out WHAT investment by “listening” to disadvantaged communities. He blusters that he’s “uncomfortable” comparing education choice to spending choice at a Walmart. He actually says he doesn’t want his kids’ teacher to be paid like a Wal Mart greeter as if that was ever suggested. Guy can be a professor of education and not understand what a metaphor is. FFS.

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