Dave Grohl penned a beautiful letter supporting America's teachers
via Tornonto Sun / Twitter

The number of Americans diagnosed wit COVID-19 has exploded over the course of July, but that hasn't stopped the Trump Administration from aggressively pushing for schools to reopen in the fall.

Earlier in the month, Trump tweeted that virtual learning "has proven to be terrible compared to in school."

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who's been a strong advocate for school choice and reducing the federal role in districts, has done an about-face and is pushing schools to reopen as well.

"I think the go-to needs to be kids in school, in person, in the classroom," she told CNN. "Because we know for most kids, that's the best environment for them."


Her department has also threatened to pull funding from districts that refuse to reopen. "The basic premise of federal funding under law is to provide a full-time education to students. How can you take the money and not provide the service?" a statement from her department read.

The issue of whether to open up schools or not in the fall has myriad considerations. What does science say about children's ability to spread the virus based on age? Has the curve flattened in a specific region? How will the schools handle social distancing?

How does being out of school for an extended period harm children psychologically? What do working parents do if they're children can't go to school?

These are all worthy of consideration, but one of the biggest concerns should be, what do the teachers think?

Foo Fighter and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl penned a beautiful essay in The Atlantic supporting the idea that teachers should lead the way through this crisis.

Dave opens the letter admitting he's not a great role model when it comes to education.

"So, with me being a high-school dropout, you would imagine that the current debate surrounding the reopening of schools wouldn't register so much as a blip on my rock-and-roll radar, right? Wrong," Grohl wrote.

"My mother was a public-school teacher."

via NME / Twitter

"She helped generations of children learn how to learn, and, like most other teachers, exhibited a selfless concern for others," Grohl continued. "Though I was never her student, she will forever be my favorite teacher."

Given his lifelong experience with educators he believes they are "essential workers."

"It takes a certain kind of person to devote their life to this difficult and often-thankless job. I know because I was raised in a community of them," Grohl wrote. "I have mowed their lawns, painted their apartments, even babysat their children, and I'm convinced that they are as essential as any other essential workers."

Grohl asked his go-to expert on the topic, his mother Virginia, her thoughts on the issue. "There's so much more to be addressed than just opening the doors and sending them back home," Grohl's 82-year-old, now retired mother, told him over the phone.

She also gave him a list of issues that should be considered before reopening districts: "masks and distancing, temperature checks, crowded busing, crowded hallways, sports, air-conditioning systems, lunchrooms, public restrooms, janitorial staff."

Given the large number of staff at most schools that are older and more vulnerable to the virus, Dave's mother believes schools should remain temporarily closed.

"Remote learning for the time being," Dave's mom said.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Grohl also questioned the qualifications of DeVos, a woman who never spent any time teaching in a classroom.

"I wouldn't trust the U.S. secretary of percussion to tell me how to play 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' if they had never sat behind a drum set, so why should any teacher trust Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to tell them how to teach, without her ever having sat at the head of a class?" Grohl wrote.

The "Smells Like Teen Spirit" drummer concluded his letter recommending that, in the school debate, we let teachers lead the way.

"Teachers want to teach, not die, and we should support and protect them like the national treasures that they are. For without them, where would we be?" Grohl wrote.

"May we show these tireless altruists a little altruism in return. I would for my favorite teacher. Wouldn't you?"

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

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Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

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Since she's allergic to bees, she decided to stay put and see how badly her body would react. With some extra time on her hands, she decided to write something on her long-neglected Facebook page. It was September of 2019, and Representative Adam Schiff had just sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence stating that the House knew there was a whistleblower complaint, the DNI wasn't handing it over, and that wasn't legal.

"I recognized, because I'm a political historian, that this was the first time that a member of Congress had found a specific law that they were accusing a specific member of the executive branch of violating," Richardson told Bill Moyers in an interview in July. "So I thought, you know, I oughta put that down, 'cause this is a really important moment. If you knew what you were looking for, it was a big moment. So I wrote it down..."

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Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

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