On the July 31 episode of America’s Work Force Radio Podcast, Sherry Linkon with Working Class Perspectives discussed workers and education amidst the pandemic.
Linkon said the debate over opening schools for class this fall mainly reflects economic concerns.
She said schools need to be open in order for them to make money. The problem many are seeing is the high costs of reopening during a pandemic, as many additional costs will be placed on school districts in order to equip schools to be a safe learning environment. Districts must take the threat of President Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos cutting federal funding for not reopening seriously.
Colleges and universities are in a different situation, as room and board fees help higher learning institutions balance their budgets.
Linkon highlighted the stress being experienced by professors as they are unsure whether classes will be taught online or in-person. Teaching in-person would require all students and faculty to follow safety guidelines and social distancing rules.
Linkon said educators on all levels are being identified as “essential” workers who are being asked and sometimes required to return to their classrooms. She added that she feels teachers’ unions and college faculty will push back for a new round of “bargaining for the common good.”
Lastly, she said that in higher education, there is a major problem with professors and students returning to their campuses. Underpaid grad students and adjuncts are being pressured into returning to campus or risk losing their jobs and working-class students who don’t return to campus risk losing internet access or quiet places to work and study.