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Daniel Horowitz Op-ed: New study shows Sweden’s decision to keep schools open was all gain, no pain


Commentary by Daniel Horowitz | June 14, 2022

Rad more at https://www.conservativereview.com/horowitz-sweden-schools-open-study-2657506412.html

They did this under the guise of science and saving lives. We now have a generation of children who are delayed in language, social skills, and educational attainment, while overburdened with mental, emotional, and behavioral ailments. And yet it was all done for absolutely nothing – no gain, all pain. This has been appallingly obvious since schools were shut down and then children masked in 2020, but a new study from Sweden – the global control group – demonstrates the scope of this crime with unmistakable clarity.

A study by Swedish researchers published in the International Journal of Educational Research found that in this Nordic country, “word decoding and reading comprehension scores were not lower during the pandemic compared to before the pandemic.” This is simply astounding, given what we have witnessed in almost every other country. The researchers analyzed 97,000 Swedish primary school children from 248 different municipalities, 1,277 schools, and 5,250 classrooms.

Just contrast this to a McKinsey study that analyzed more than 1.6 million K-12 students in over 40 U.S. states that found that students were, on average, five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading. An investigation by WBFF’s Project Baltimore from the local Fox affiliate found that 62% of middle schoolers in Baltimore County had one or more failing grades by the third quarter of the 2021 school year, up a whopping from 35% from before the shutdowns. Investigators also found that 41% of Baltimore high schoolers had a grade-point average of 1.0 or below, an increase of 24% since before the school closures in March 2020. The education situation in a state like Maryland is so dire that 81 percent of all Maryland students tested last year in grades three through five were not proficient in math, and 76 percent were not proficient in English language arts.

It makes you wonder if Swedish kids might outshine American children one day in English in addition to their native language! What was the secret to their success? They simply followed science and morality and kept schools open without dystopian plexiglass and masks. There was no fearmongering, social isolation, learning impediments, or learning stoppages. And of course, there is no evidence that a single child died from COVID as a result of schools being open. All gain and no pain.

In the light of international studies on reading skills in younger students during the pandemic, we conclude that the decision to keep schools open benefitted Swedish primary school students. This decision might also have mitigated other potentially negative effects of school closures, especially for students from more disadvantaged backgrounds.

Never before in our history has there been such a grave policy promulgated by government that was known up front to have no benefit but induced cataclysmic damage. It’s not just the learning disorders that are plaguing a generation of kids. 2021 paper in the Lancet found, based on data from 204 countries, a 27.4% increase in major depressive disorders globally, accounting for an additional 53 million cases. Additionally, researchers found a 25.6% increase in cases of anxiety disorders, accounting for another 76 million cases globally.

One cannot possibly quantify the long-term effects to society of driving such a ubiquitous mental and emotional health crisis. According to the CDC, a third of high school students reported poor mental health during the pandemic, and 44% said they “persistently felt sad or hopeless.”

What is going to become of those kids? Many of them will live unproductive and sad lives, but many others will die young. A paper published recently in JAMA found that the rate of drug overdose deaths doubled among adolescents during the pandemic. In 2019, the overdose fatality rate among adolescents was 2.36 per 100,000, very consistent with the previous decade. In 2020, it shot up to 4.57 per 100,000, and for the first six months of 2021, the rate increased another 20%, to 5.49 per 100,000.

Kids should never have been made to feel anxious about the virus or about the response to it because it should never have affected them. It was known early on that not a single one of Sweden’s nearly 2 million children died of COVID during the initial wave in the spring of 2020 when Sweden kept its schools open (without mask requirements) and the rest of the world shut their schools.

Rather than admitting their mistake and committing to never shutting down schools again, governments are once again foisting a policy with all pain and no gain on the youngest of children. Later this week, the FDA will likely approve Moderna’s and Pfizer’s outdated shots on babies and toddlers, for a virus that never harmed them. We have never pushed novel therapies on children, especially those who already have numerous documented problems, for something that poses such a low risk, especially when the vaccine is outdated and doesn’t work for the variants circulating today.

As of June 3, there were already 49,878 children (ages 0 to 17) reported in VAERS who have experienced an adverse event from one of the COVID jabs. 7,547 of the childrenwere hospitalized, and 125 died. Remember, this is for a virus that no longer exists in that original form and from which there was a near-zero risk to children.

Between March 2020 and December 2021, according to researchers from the U.K. Health Security Agency, even among the rare documented pediatric COVID deaths, 56% of those under age 20 “were due to unnatural causes or due to causes unrelated to COVID-19.” Even among the remaining 81 deaths in the entire country under age 20, 75% had significant co-morbidities. Yet we are giving them a novel therapy Pfizer itself admitted is associated with hundreds of adverse maladies based on de facto zero risk, just like we shut down their classes, socially isolated them, and mummified their faces for the same nonexistent risk. What will it take to suspend these immoral experiments on our children?

‘We have failed our children’: Goldie Hawn warns COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed mental trauma on an entire generation of kids


Reported by PAUL SACCA | January 28, 2022

Read more at https://www.theblaze.com/news/goldie-hawn-children-covid-mental-health/

Goldie Hawn warned that the national trauma inflicted on children by the COVID-19 pandemic is approaching and “could very well surpass” the dread brought on by the 9/11 terror attacks and the Cold War. In an op-ed for USA Today, Hawn described how she saw her “entire world get ripped apart” by the threat of all-out nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1956 when she was in the fifth grade. After being shown a graphic and grim educational film about the dangers of nuclear war, the then-11-year-old Goldie Hawn ran home during lunch to call her mother at work and told her, “Mommy, come home quick! We’re all going to die!” Hawn said the threat of nuclear holocaust inflicted trauma on her for years.

“Even in high school, I’d hear a siren in the morning and be too terrified to go to school that day,” Hawn wrote. “This was a specific trauma that affected me, but it was a collective trauma, too – an entire generation of American children was, in some form or another, taught to think of nuclear holocaust as a real threat.”

Hawn compared the collective trauma endured by her generation to the upheaval other generations experienced – such as children who watched the Challenger space shuttle disaster happen live on Jan. 28, 1986, the kids who witnessed the Twin Towers collapse from the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the youngsters who have had their lives turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We all know how magical a child’s imagination can be – the wonderful worlds they create in their minds. But there’s a flip side to the joyful creativity that can turn a big cardboard box into a spaceship,” the “Overboard” actress articulated. “A child’s mind exposed to real-world fear, without the ability to properly process it, can go down dark passages leading to nothing less than existential dread.”

Hawn explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has robbed adults and children of critical “support structures that all humans depend on for perspective, encouragement, and love.”

“The COVID era has changed our children’s lives in far more real, tangible ways — social distancing, school closures, daily mask use,” she added. “Kids are afraid of people, spaces, even the air around them – a level of constant fear not seen in decades.”

Hawn cited a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts by adolescent girls spiked nearly 51% in 2021 and almost 4% for boys. The movie star noted that U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy cautioned in December that the COVID-19 pandemic has had “unprecedented impacts on the mental health of America’s youth and families.” She also linked to a declaration of national emergency in child and adolescent mental health by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association.

“As health professionals dedicated to the care of children and adolescents, we have witnessed soaring rates of mental health challenges among children, adolescents, and their families over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbating the situation that existed prior to the pandemic,” the declaration stated in October. “Children and families across our country have experienced enormous adversity and disruption.”

Hawn commented on the alarming concerns about the mental health of America’s youth, “This tells us that as a nation, we have failed our children.””We are not properly funding preventive care and early interventions that normalize the mental struggles every individual has at some level,” the Academy Award-winning actress wrote. “There are everyday tools for mental fitness, just as there are for exercise and healthy eating; we just don’t teach them in any systematic way to our nation’s children.”

Hawn called for “helping children understand the chemical reactions that occur in their mind” when they hear the “latest horrifying statistic or headline on the evening news.” She said that understanding how the brain works will provide children with “the patience and confidence to put things in perspective, rather than fall victim to the emotions of the moment and end up in a helplessness that leads to depression and sometimes self-harm, the kind we are seeing in record numbers among children.”

She warned that the answer is not to allow kids to “be over-diagnosed or shuffled through a system that screens and treats extreme cases after they are too late.”

“We will survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but I’m not sure we can survive an entire generation whose collective trauma sends them hobbling into adulthood. We need more research, more preventative care and more early intervention. And there’s still time,” Hawn concluded. “If we get it right, today’s kids could emerge as the strongest generation America has ever produced.”

Hawn also made headlines this week when she appeared on “The Megyn Kelly Show” and proclaimed that Hollywood celebrities need to entertain the public no matter what political affiliations they have. “I stay in my lane,” Hawn declared when it comes to spouting political opinions.

TOO FUNNY NOT TO PUBLISH


January 11, 2022

My Wife Shared This with Me. It was on her Facebook Account


HUG YOUR SUPERHERO

I’ve lost a year with my kids battling over school and I’m done.

My seven year old and I were in the midst of our usual asynchronous day battle. I had his writing homework in my hand from school. He’d written several full, well-thought-out sentences.

But he won’t do the same for me, at least not without a fight.

I told him he didn’t have to write about his best day like his teacher asked, he could write about his worst. He could write about whatever he wanted as long as he wrote a few sentences.

He said he’d get in trouble. He said he was doing a bad job in first grade. He was on the brink of tears but didn’t know why.

And it hit me.

Instead of getting frustrated and pushing the assignment, I sat down with him at his desk in his superhero bedroom.

I said “you won’t get in trouble and you can’t fail first grade. In fact, you’re kind of a superhero yourself.”

He sat up in his chair just a little and looked at me with disbelief.

I said, “Do you know that no kids in the history of kids have ever had to do what you’re doing right now? No kids in the history of kids have ever had to do school at home, sitting in their bedroom, watching their teacher on a computer. You and your friends are making history.”

A visible weight lifted from his seven year old shoulders, “What does that mean?”

I told him it means I haven’t given him nearly enough credit for rolling with the punches. I told him how proud I am of him and his friends. That kids this year are doing the impossible and they’re doing a really great job.

I apologized for not saying it sooner and more often. A little tear fell down his cheek.

We’ve thanked everyone from healthcare workers to grocery store employees but we haven’t thanked the kids enough for bearing the burden of what we’ve put on their shoulders this year.

We’ve said kids are resilient, and they are. But they are the real superheroes in this whole scenario for having ZERO say in their lives but doing their best to adjust every day.

We closed his school-issued laptop and spent the rest of the day playing. This was supposed to be temporary and here we are a year later still trying to hold our head above water.

This is our home and I won’t turn it into a battle ground anymore over something we can’t control. Something that no longer makes sense.

Hug your little superheroes today and don’t forget to cut them the slack we’ve given everyone else.

Join me in the trenches at

Christine Derengowski, Writer

!!

 

‘Sanctuaries of Learning’: Churches nationwide help students navigate virtual school


Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter 

Tutors assist students with schoolwork at the Restart Learning Center, a distance learning center set up by the Los Angeles Dream Center, a faith-based nonprofit organization based in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, 2020. | Los Angeles Dream Center

As the pandemic has forced many of America’s public schools to begin the school year with remote learning, several churches and faith-based groups nationwide have opened their doors to students who don’t have internet access at home or whose parents can’t stay home with them. Among those institutions are 14 Houston-based churches belonging to the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church that partnered with the Houston Independent School District to serve as distance learning centers.

The distance-learning centers were attended by hundreds of children before the school district’s return to in-person learning in late October.  The eighth-largest school district in the United States, with the help of the UMC conference, birthed the “Sanctuaries of Learning” program to aid approximately 500 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The program helped the students navigate the waters of virtual learning, a new experience for most K-12 students in the U.S.

“They lived in the neighborhood, they registered through the school, they called the school to save a place, … [and] their parents were notified about it,” said Rev. Jill Daniel, an elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Although the program concluded in mid-October when the school district resumed in-person learning, the program’s impact can be felt nationwide as some school districts have not yet returned to in-person classes.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Shannon Martin, director of communications for the Texas Annual Conference, explained that their regional church body “birthed this program.” 

“But then as people started hearing about it … it started catching on across the country. So there are people all over the country doing this,” she said. “Other people have adopted the same name, Sanctuaries of Learning. We certainly did not copyright it. We wanted people to use it and certainly utilize the same model of working with school districts. Once there’s a good model, we want other churches and other people to be able to follow along with … the same model because it’s worked.”

Daniel said the conference started receiving calls from all over the U.S., specifically recalling phone calls from New York City, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, the Carolinas and elsewhere in Texas. They asked: “What can we do to make this happen?”

“We probably had … well over 120 or so Zoom meetings with people all over the United States and we walked a little closer with some of them,” she explained. “And it’s been amazing to just watch God doing this very new thing and blessing it so mightily.”

The pastor predicted that the establishment of the Sanctuaries of Learning program would lead to a “rebirth” of neighborhood churches because “during quarantine, we had all this time where … our churches have been that mission depot in the neighborhood, where we’ve had food distributed and people have done dinners for their neighbors and checked on one another.”

While schools in Houston have returned to in-person learning, schools in California’s Los Angeles Unified School District are not likely to return to in-person learning before January. This week, the district released data based on 10-week interim assessments showing that poor grades surged in the district’s lower-income communities.

In addition to churches, faith-based organizations have also worked to set up distance learning centers.

The faith-based nonprofit Los Angeles Dream Center established the Restart Learning Center, a “safe, socially distanced outdoor learning environment” in the parking lot of its Echo Park campus. The parking lot contains a solar panel shed that shields against heat and precipitation.

Like the Sanctuaries of Learning in Texas, the Restart Learning Center draws in students residing within walking distance of the surrounding neighborhood. Participants include attendees of both public and private schools. The Restart Learning Center operates five days a week from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center is free of charge.

“This will all be executed in an effort to support parents, work schedules and schooling, to cheerlead kids and to provide them a safe place and motivation center,” Matthew Barnett, pastor of the Los Angeles Dream Center, told CP.

Barnett explained that about 80 children each day attend the learning center along with a “rotating group” of students that come and go. According to Barnett, the lockdowns in Los Angeles have had an adverse impact on “the poorest of the poor.” 

“I don’t think maybe people understand how much of a gap has been left between those that are in need and those who have,” he surmised.

“We had to supply more than half of the 80 kids learning tablets with our own money,” he continued. “I would say 75% of the kids get them from us.” The remainder of students use school-issued computers, he added.

How Sanctuaries of Learning came to be

Students gather outside as members of the Houston Texans visit a Sanctuaries of Learning campus in Houston, Texas on Houston Texans’ Founder’s Day. The Sanctuaries of Learning were distance learning centers set up by the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for children in Houston, Texas, 2020. | Jill Daniel

Daniel, who serves as director of a Texas Annual Conference initiative called “We Love All God’s Children,” explained how the Sanctuaries of Learning program came about.  The initiative aims to “change the trajectory of the lives of children from birth through the end of elementary school.” It also aims to help families in underserved areas through a holistic approach that includes discipleship and early education.

“We work with all 683 United Methodist Churches in the Texas Annual Conference,” she said.

“We Love All God’s Children” has worked to set up UMC Children Centers, which the elder described as “state-of-the-art early childhood centers.” Several United Methodist Children Centers were planned to open in 2020. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, they couldn’t open this year.

“We immediately shifted from doing what we had been doing to [figuring out] how can we help our churches … in this new crazy time,” she said.

“And so one of the things I tried to keep in mind was that …  my ministry area focuses on underserved children. And so it would be the children who I focus on who were not going to have access to technology, who didn’t have Wi-Fi in their house.”

Over the summer, the pastor said she began praying and trying to figure out how churches could join together to help the public school systems since it was looking very likely schools would return for the 2020-2021 school year virtually.

“And so I worked on a proposal. I went to one of our district superintendents, who’s the district superintendent over the … Central South District — that’s all the United Methodist churches within Beltway 8 in Houston,” she said. “And I pitched that idea to him. And he said, ‘I’ll tell you what … let my churches be the guinea pigs.’”

After the bishop approved her idea in early June, Daniel reached out to Dr. Grenita Lathan, the interim superintendent of the Houston Independent School District. However, she did not hear back from her right away. At the end of July, Daniel received an e-mail from Lathan, who said that she would announce the district’s plans for reopening later that week and asked if she wanted to meet with her.

“I know now that the reason she never responded was because she had no idea what Houston ISD was going to do,” Daniel explained.

“She kind of took the reins on our Zoom meeting. She wanted to join with us. She wanted to make use of all the United Methodist churches that she could that are near a neighborhood elementary school.”

District sent support staff to churches

According to Daniel, the churches needed people to oversee the safety of the students while teachers taught live from their classrooms.

“We just needed people to oversee the safety of the kids, to help if one of them has trouble logging on or that sort of thing,” the UMC elder explained.

Daniel said that the school district sent support staff to assist students at all distance-learning campuses.

“Those were people they were paying already, like cafeteria workers or bus drivers,” the reverend explained. “They were paying them but they didn’t have any work to do.” 

In addition to deploying support staff, the school district also provided breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack to all of the children participating in the program. The school district also provided personal protective equipment and a “cleaning crew that came in every afternoon” to clean the churches.

“They even came before we ever started and did a deep clean to start with. And then they also came every night and did it,” she recalled.

Daniel was amazed at what the school district provided.

“We never dreamed of that or imagined that,” she said. “If we didn’t have enough bandwidth, they brought boosters over so that everything would be good for the kids. They also sent their safety team and their property management teams around all of our churches.” 

Also, the Houston Independent School District even added the churches to its liability insurance.

The Sanctuaries of Learning program was paid for in part by coronavirus relief that the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church received. Each church that participated in the Sanctuaries of Learning program received a $1,000 check.

“We were so thankful to be able to provide a safe, healthy, affirming Christian environment, positive environment for those kids to be in,” Daniel said.

Every Friday was “fun Friday” for students participating in the Sanctuaries of Learning program. Daniel told CP that on Houston Texans’ Founder’s Day, Oct. 6, the football team came out to some of the churches. Daniel recalled one cheerleader reading a book to all the kids in that school. All the children received a free T-shirt.

“One fun Friday, we had ice cream sundaes and we gave … each child a whole library from the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation,” Daniel stated. “Each child had 25 books on their reading label to save and to take home.”

The Sanctuaries of Learning program did not come without challenges.

On the second day of school, a student at one of the campuses tested positive for coronavirus. This forced the campus to close down and anyone who worked closely with the infected student had to quarantine. For the remainder of the program, no one at any of the Sanctuaries of Learning campuses tested positive for coronavirus, however.

Daniel described the Sanctuaries of Learning program as a “game-changer for our children.”

“It’s a game-changer for mama or for daddy or for whoever is raising that child who doesn’t have to be worried every day about whether they’re safe and how and whether they’re going to get … what they need at school,” she said.

While in-person schooling has resumed in the Houston Independent School District and other large school districts nationwide, the Sanctuaries of Learning program is ready to restart should the district decide to move to online learning again.

No end to remote learning in sight for Los Angeles

A tutor assists a student at the Restart Learning Center, a distance learning center set up at the Los Angeles Dream Center, a faith-based nonprofit based in the Echo Park Neighborhood of Los Angeles, 2020. | Los Angeles Dream Center

Barnett explained that the Los Angeles Dream Center has the resources to continue operating the Restart Learning Center for the remainder of the semester. But he is “terrified of the fact that [remote learning] could go on for a whole year.” 

“With the teachers afraid to go back and the union battles that are going on, this thing, I fear it will be the whole year long,” he said. “So that’s going to really test our ability to keep it going. But we’re going to give it a try.”

The Restart Learning Center program provides one tutor for every three students.

“The best thing about it is that they have somebody who’s a cheerleader next to them, pulling for them to succeed and celebrating their accomplishment,” Barnett stated. “So I think that’s the … most important thing.”

He assured that tutors are there “every step of the way” to help students with whatever questions they may have.

Barnett estimated the cost of running the center is about $300 per month per student. It costs about “$20,000 a month to operate all these stations and school.”

“We’ve invested a lot of money that we really expect not to get back,” the pastor explained. “We just did it in a labor of love. … If people want to support, they can. … It’s been a kind of a missions work for us and it’s almost like we just started helping people and we’re trying to catch up.”

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