Yes, we’re all tired. Tired of the isolation, the restrictions, the lines, the shortages, the rude people and the ignorant ones who don’t understand safety practices, the cumbersome way we must operate, the dull routine and inability to socialize and travel.

    It shows in our state’s positive case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths. Rio Arriba County is one of the worst in the state for percentage of positive tests. To make matters worse, Thanksgiving came along and people hit the apathy button and traveled against health officials’ recommendations.

    Add to that the good news of a vaccine arriving any time, which has lulled more people into a false sense of relief and letting our guard down.

    We won’t load you with statistics and preach what everyone already knows. Suffice to say enroute vaccines will not lower the above mentioned numbers, nor make any of the general population’s life better.

    We’ve all sacrificed something in the past eight months, some much more than others. Hourly workers, gig workers, almost anyone associated with a restaurant or bar have taken a huge hit. We’re still hoping the Gutierrezes recover and re-open Angelinas.

    The miserable job Cabinet Secretary Bill McCamley has done makes many of those harmed people’s lives worse. It’s maddening to watch McCamley directing traffic at a testing station as a press opportunity, acting like he’s “helping.” He should go sit down in a cubicle in his own department, put on a headset and answer some phones.

    We receive many calls and emails about people who clearly qualify for unemployment and they’re just on ignore. Don’t tell one of those frustrated angry people, “We’re all in this together.” McCamley has no problem near what these folks do.

    So now we face Christmas and more people traveling despite clear, serious warnings. One would hope some knowledge seeped into these slow learners’ heads after watching the post-Thanksgiving spike. Fingers crossed.

    While 300,000 dead is a devastating number and difficult to grasp, the big casualty throughout and after the pandemic will be education. For the most part many students and teachers have checked out for the year, or never really checked in. Absenteeism is out of control, those who do log on to classes are not truly present and teachers are at wit’s end to herd the cats.

    Instead of doubling down, working harder and placing parents in a headlock to get their attention, the reaction nationwide seems to be one of surrender.

    McCurdy Charter School Director Sarah Tario at a recent Board meeting enumerated the many problems the school (and all schools) face: absenteeism, students failing classes, lower than normal grades and lack of participation.

    In response, Tario suggested, and the Board agreed, to lower graduation requirements. We clearly remember when the state put stricter graduation requirements in place about 10 years ago, teachers and administrators were mostly for the change. Instead of teachers passing bad students just to move them through the education grinder, now students would have to demonstrate proficiency at something, anything.

    Tario said, “If (I’ve) taken a whole semester of a course, and passed it, but I didn’t pass a test, does that mean I don’t actually know the material?”

    Yes, it does. This has been one of the basic tenets of education since it was established. If you can’t pass a test on the material, you don’t know the material. You should not be passed.

    McCurdy administration and board members agreed with Tario. They also agreed a job could substitute for testing on a subject. We won’t even touch that one.

    It’s bad that juniors and seniors are going to get a pass. People feel sorry for them because they didn’t get a homecoming, or a prom and they couldn’t play basketball.

    We feel sorry for them because they’re being robbed of their education. And much worse off will be elementary students. In about seven years as these second-, third- and fourth-graders enter high school we’re going to see a huge drop out and drop off of test scores.

    Administrators and teachers should be focusing on dragging those students kicking and screaming into the virtual classrooms. They’ll never catch up and our poor education system is not equipped to help them when they hit ninth grade.

    We’re not sure what is worse, a family member dying from the virus or having an uneducated child sentenced to a life of short-term, low-paying hourly jobs because he or she dropped out of high (or middle) school. That’s a long tough life, full of disappointment.

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