Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Only Compassion Makes Hope Worth Something

Seattle's public schools have re-opened for in-person instruction this week, a sign that many are taking as the beginning of our return to "normal." Vaccinations in our state are going to be available for everyone over 16 starting next week, another signal that "normal" is just around the corner. But let's remember some things.

Nearly 40,000 American children lost a parent to the pandemic. Black children were disproportionately impacted.

So far, only one American child has died from influenza during the current flu season. A typical season sees a couple hundred deaths.

77 percent of US educators are working more today than a year ago.

60 percent enjoy their job less. The same number do not feel their school district's safety precautions were adequate.

Between 2009 and 2016 there was a 15.4 percent drop in the number of education degrees awarded and a 27.4 percent drop in the number of people who completed teacher preparation programs.

Nearly 40 percent of adults in the US report symptoms of anxiety or depression this year, up from 10 percent who report these symptoms during a typical year.

The pandemic has disproportionately affected the health of communities of color with nearly 50 percent of Black adults and 46 percent of Hispanic or Latino adult reporting anxiety or depression.

Nitrogen dioxide and carbon emissions (the main pollutants in the burning of fossil fuels) in New York City are nearly 50 percent lower than before the pandemic and 25 percent lower in the nation overall.

Noise pollution has been greatly reduced in most cities during the lockdown period.

There has been an increase in biomedical waste and trash levels have spiked due to the disposal of masks, gloves, and other personal protection materials.

Recycling has declined in the past year as governments restricted recycling programs in many cities by nearly 46 percent due to worry about the risk of spreading Covid-19.

41 percent of us report that the pandemic has had a negative impact on our personal relationships. 

33 percent of us report that the pandemic has had a positive impact on our personal relationships.

40 percent of adults under 50 report it has had a positive impact, while only 25 percent of those over 50 saw improvements.

45 percent of those 65 and older say the pandemic has forced them to remain isolated at home compared to just 27 percent of those under 50 say this.

Only 14 percent of adults feel their health has improved in the past year.

Double that number say their health has gotten worse.

Only 13 percent report positive changes in their work situation. Americans with higher income levels were more likely to mention positive work changes (21 percent) than were lower income earners (8 percent).

22 percent of children had at least one unemployed parent, the highest rate observed since 1967.

Prior to the pandemic 1 in 5 American children lived in poverty. The data is not yet available for 2020.

35 percent of children 5-17 infected with Covid are Hispanic/Latino

Black, non-Hispanic children have a hospitalization rate of over 16 percent

Hispanic/Latino children have a hospitalization rate of 10.5 percent

White children have a hospitalization rate of 2 percent.

In the first two months of the Covid crises alone, 336,000 child care employees lost their jobs, the vast majority of whom are women and disproportionately women of color.

It's human nature to look forward and it is always a good thing to count our blessings and seek out silver linings. But there is no normal to which we can return, there is only this new reality. Hope is vital, but it will be compassion, and only compassion, that will make our hope worth something.


As preschool educators, we don't just educate children, but their families as well. For the past 20 years, I've been working in a place that puts the tri-cornered relationship of child-parent-educator at the center, and over that time I've learned a great deal about how to work with families to create the kind of village every child needs and deserves. I'm proud to announce that I've assembled what I've learned into a 6-part e-course called Partnering With Parents in which I share my best thinking on how educators can and should make allies of the parents of the children we teach. (Click this link to register and to learn more.) Register now to receive early bird pricing. Discounts are available for groups.

I put a lot of time and effort into this blog. If you'd like to support me please consider a small contribution to the cause. Thank you!
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