• Mike McGroarty

No, it's not cool if our kids play video games all day

Updated: Jun 2

Dr. Jennie Weaver, in her NY Times Op-Ed, "I Refuse to Run a Coronavirus Homeschool," proudly declares: "My kids are watching TV, playing video games and eating cookies. It’s fine."


As a teacher, parent, and citizen, I find Weiner’s lackadaisical attitude troubling, to say the least.


Despite Weiner’s position as a professor of educational leadership, she provides no critique or vision for our schools. Instead, she basks in a rather tired and wishy-washy “progressivism” that only highlights the privilege she glibly acknowledges. 


To upper middle class and rich families, the school closures might offer a “timeout on the academic rat-race,” as Weiner describes it. But when schools finally open again, they’ll jump right back into the game without missing a beat. 


To the students of working-class and poor families, however, continually missed days of instruction do push them even farther away from academic success (not to mention the food and other social services that many rely on). Teachers who work in low-income schools know all too well how difficult it can be to ensure that students with big gaps in their education acquire grade-level knowledge and skills. 


Needless to say, we shouldn’t expect parents to be able to recreate the intellectual rigor, artistic stimulation, and social interaction that well-trained teachers in high-quality schools can provide. And yes, all parents’ priority during this crisis is, without a doubt, the physical and emotional well-being of their children. 


But our “educational leaders” should be offering us more guidance than how to chill out and let the kids play video games. 


We should be demanding fully-funded public schools, high-speed Internet access in every home in the United States, and—as most cognitive scientists say—a national, knowledge-based and content-rich curriculum that brings all students into one shared universe of learning.