My mother recently died at the age of 100 from COVID-19.
I don’t say “tragically” because I reserve that description for children and younger adults who die from COVID-19, not centenarians.
My mother would have agreed. She was living under quarantine in the nursing section of a retirement community. She was receiving excellent care.
Other than a “bum knee,” as she described it, and some dementia, she was in good health.
She knew her grandkids and great-grandkids by name when they visited her pre-quarantine.
My feelings about my mother’s death and the deaths of more than 174,000 other Americans are many.
But my predominant feeling is anger that the president and others betrayed this country with their inept and callous responses.
The virus isn’t their fault, but many deaths and much sickness could have been avoided.
Instead of promoting a scientific response, the virus was called a hoax that would magically disappear.
Simple precautions like wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing were derided.
Medical experts (not hoaxers) worry that a significant proportion of the 5.5 million people who have contracted COVID-19 and survive may suffer long-term effects, including shorter lifespans.
Along with needless deaths and suffering, businesses and jobs have been lost because of the slow and incompetent response to the virus.
The citizens of our country, young and old, deserve better. But, as the president likes to say, “It is what it is.”
Little Oak Island Drive
Steve Bannon’s arrest makes him the 14th (so far) associate of Donald Trump’s White House facing prison time. This is what the great businessman’s idea of hiring “only the best people” to “drain the swamp” looks like.
Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.
The Aug. 24 op-ed by Jon Butzon and Neil Robinson is absolutely right about our education system in South Carolina.
I’m a retired teacher and counselor who worked in four counties over the course of my career.
Every year, I said our one-size-fits-all system was not working for too many children. We need to define goals and then work back to develop programs to reach them.
All children need training in personal finance, not three years of algebra. All students need to be computer proficient. Many students could benefit from programs offered at career centers, without any stigma attached. All students need good reading skills.
The exit exam for high school worked. I taught and tutored students who needed to pass it and there was strong motivation to improve skills to get a diploma.
We must decide what we need to accomplish. Doing what we have been doing is not working for many children. We are not getting a good return on our educational investment, and our students and our state deserve something better.
We need to prepare our young people for the jobs that will be created by the time they graduate. High expectations work. We can do so much better.
Cheating our students
I write in response to the misguided Aug. 24 op-ed by Neil Robinson and Jon Butzon. We certainly recognize that our education system is not getting the results we need to see, but I would argue that we are getting what we are paying for and that our schools are seriously underfunded.
I’d ask the writers to consider living on a Charleston County teacher’s starting salary and ponder why our district has trouble keeping them. I daresay compensation enters into it.
When our legislative body was in session last, I called out Sen. Greg Hembree, chairman of the Senate Education Committee who represents Horry and Dillon counties.
I decried our funding for education noting that, as was pointed out, the Legislature has rarely funded the base student cost.
He was quick to tell me that every student was funded at a value in excess of $13,000.
I was stunned. Upon returning to James Island where I serve on the Constituent School Board, I asked our district schools what the pupil allotment is. None of our eight schools received more than $8,000 per student.
A survey of our performance in math and science, my area of interest, showed that nearly a third of our students failed to meet standards.
Our schools needed intervention in nearly all areas. I also have attended many PTO meetings and seen parents donating for books and teacher pay, not for frills.
I understand that funding is a complex issue and that it must be carefully monitored. That said, we are underfunding, getting what we pay for and cheating our young people.