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Parents say they need schools to reopen. Teachers aren’t so sure

July 13, 2020, 12:22 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Singapore’s election sets a new record for women, Shannon Watts reflects on the connection between the movements against gun violence and police brutality, and teachers—and parents—worry about schools’ reopening plans. Have a productive Monday.

– No good solutions. As August and September inch closer with every passing day, there seems to be one topic on every parent’s mind: how will schools operate in the fall?

From the colleges and universities racing to help their international students stay enrolled amid Trump administration restrictions to the pre-K classrooms preparing to instruct kids too young to keep masks on, every level of the American educational system must navigate a different challenge.

The biggest challenge of all? The one facing our teachers. The 3.5 million teachers in the United States—76% of whom are women—are scared and confused about the year ahead. Feeling pressure from their bosses, lawmakers, pediatricians, and parents, many teachers want to do all they can to help students and their families in the fall—but aren’t willing to sacrifice their own families’ safety.

In this New York Times story, teachers say that their districts have not developed coherent enough COVID-19 safety plans to allow their return. In Los Angeles, the teachers’ union is demanding full-time remote learning when the 2020-2021 school year begins. “I want to serve the students, but it’s hard to say you’re going to sacrifice all of the teachers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers,” added Hannah Wysong, an Arizona teacher.

Of course, parents, after months working without childcare, are eager for schools to reopen; many teachers are parents of young children themselves, with their own concerns about their children’s education. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement advocating for the reopening of schools in the fall, citing “evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020.” It’s hard to watch schools—a bedrock of our society—remain fully closed while bars and restaurants across the country welcome patrons.

Another NYT piece, this one by columnist Michelle Goldberg, makes an even starker argument. “As those who can afford it hire private teachers and tutors,” she writes, “we are rapidly heading toward a system of neo-governesses in which basic schooling becomes a luxury good unattainable for many people outside the 1%.”

There are no good answers. So, Broadsheet readers, we want to hear from you: if you’re a working parent of a school-age child, what is their school’s plan—and your plan—for this fall? How are you feeling about it? And for the teachers reading—we’d especially love your perspective. Please email me at emma.hinchliffe@fortune.com. We may use your response in a future Broadsheet.

Emma Hinchliffe
emma.hinchliffe@fortune.com
@_emmahinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- Demanding actionThe movement against gun violence is at the center of every crisis facing the United States right now, from how to safely reopen schools to the fight for racial justice. Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts reflects on how "police violence is gun violence" and how the past few months have changed her battle for gun safety. Fortune

- Singapore sets a record. In Singapore's election on Friday, a record 40 women competed for seats in Parliament. The next Parliament will likely fall just short of the longtime goal of 30% female representation. Raeesah Khan, 26, of the Workers' Party is a feminist activist elected this weekend. Nikkei Asian Review

- Rental economy. In this interview, Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman explains her decision to cut costs—and employees—as much as she possibly could early in the pandemic, choosing the tougher Option A over the wait-and-see Option B. Rent the Runway will expand its offering to buy secondhand clothes via the site as rental subscriptions continue to slowly recover. Wall Street Journal

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Hanna Rosin joins New York Magazine as editorial director for audio. Marketing agency Fingerpaint promoted Jenny McKenna to head of operations. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Holding back progress. Betsy Hodges was the mayor of Minneapolis—the city where the death of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests over racism and police brutality—from 2014 until 2018. In this piece, she argues that white liberals have held back reform, opting for pilot programs and volunteer opportunities over true racial and economic justice. New York Times

- Getting it wrong on gender. Lisa Kenney is the co-founder and CEO of the organization Reimagine Gender. In this piece, Kenney explains just how J.K. Rowling went so wrong with her public commentary on transgender women—and the lessons her missteps offer corporate leaders. For example: Don't change a policy or a product to appear more gender inclusive without actually taking the time to understand the 'why' first. Fortune

- Discrimination has consequences. A new study found that women who suffer or perceive workplace discrimination while pregnant are more likely to have babies that are born prematurely and with low birth weights—and to suffer stress and postpartum depression themselves. Bloomberg 

ON MY RADAR

Black women helped build house music. Their credit is often left off records Zora

Former USA Gymnastics coach arrested on multiple counts of lewdness with a minor NBC News

Trump vs. the women who lead Michigan: A battle with 2020 implications New York Times

PARTING WORDS

"I am not going to be erased."

-Singer Anita White, or Lady A, on her fight with the band Lady Antebellum, who recently renamed themselves the same thing