#NJRR Live July 22, 2020: How Safe Are Workers? Childcare in Home and Schools

#NJRR Live Welcomes Lark, Christian Perez, and Jessica Clayton

Welcome back, everyone! We begin by thanking Lark for being here and being such a good guest co-host. Over the past month, it has been an honor to have her on the show. Lark comments that it is a shame that New Jersey has a lack of media outlets and coverage. Sometimes we are treated as a suburb of New York in the media even though New Jersey is actually expanding in some very exciting ways. 

Secret Police in Portland

A situation has emerged in Portland because Trump sent out a troop of secret police in unmarked rent-a-vans to stop protests and detain individuals. Not only is it illegal and a violation of our rights to do so, but it is terrifying that we do not know what is happening to these people. A particularly scary aspect of this situation is how easy it could be to dress up and pretend to be one of these enforcement officers. 

Since the officers routinely reuse to identify themselves, an imposter would have a rather easy time dressing the same way impersonating them. Meanwhile, Trump has described the situation in Portland as a good thing and has entertained sending similar forces to other large cities.

Police Reform

Christian estimates that we may see a lack of substantial systemic change in big cities like New York and Seattle. He doesn’t see police abolition practically happening in particularly wealthy areas. Body cameras are a concession, but they have not always been very conducive to bringing violent cops to justice. There are still a disturbingly low amount of examples of police being brought to justice for their misdeeds. The amount of change that will take place depends on the location in question.

If you have the coronavirus, the American government says that it’s all on you. The federal government won’t provide masks, PPE, or other medical equipment, but Trump is not afraid to send in the gestapo for protestors tearing down statues. Again, Christian remarks that 2020 has brought people out for what they truly are. 140,000 Americans are dead from the coronavirus, and yet somehow, people who believe it’s all a fake plandemic still exist. 

Brian asks how Lark manages to stay positive despite all of these negative circumstances. Lark has been focusing her energy on bettering educating children on media literacy and critical thinking. She has a website and will be hosting a workshop on cooperative play. Lark believes in showing children from a young age that not every game needs to have a loser. Sometimes, everyone can win by working together. Demonstrating that to the next generation will have a big impact on the future.

Jessica Clayton

Jessica Clayton from Brick, New Jersey is our special guest tonight. Jessica and Brian met through the Green Party. Jessica runs a licensed home-based nature play school called Riverside Rhymes. She is certified teacher in New Jersey for pre-K-3rd and K-5th grades and serves on the Brick School Board. She is the secretary for the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools as well as the secretary for the Ocean County Green Party.

Jessica has been doing her best to make sure that kids have the opportunity to play at school. Some schools have been implementing negative punishment wherein they remove play time such as recess as a consequence for children not doing homework or behaving badly. She educated people about how play is crucial for development.


Outdoor Schools?

Jessica says that they can be practical until it gets to be 20 degree weather in the dead of Winter. Kids won’t focus on learning if they’re uncomfortably hot or cold. However, as long as the children can be dressed and prepared appropriately, learning can be done outside. It will not be without its complications, but it is worth exploring the idea of outdoor education. 

Jessica recalls that, at the very end of May, it was announced that childcare institutions in New Jersey were to be allowed to reopen on June 15th, even though there is no vaccine yet. Why does Trump want to open schools so soon and so badly? Christian promises that it is not because he cares about your kids. He wants to be able to say that things are back to normal. 

Trump’s Plan

Donald Trump only cares about himself. He is focused entirely on re-election. Risking children’s lives by sending them back to school would be a victory for him. At first, we were told that the virus didn’t affect children, only the elderly. It turned out that kids actually weren’t getting it as much because we weren’t sending them to school. Trump’s facade that everything is okay is a clear mark of fascism. 

Christian advises not to expect politicians who are in the pocket of those in control to make the right choice for our safety. School districts are scrambling to come up with plans. Colleges and universities around the country are remaining closed while elementary schools open. Why? Jessica says that teachers are so horrifically underpaid that they are essentially running a small business. The pressure for them to open is greater. Trump threatened to withhold federal funding from public schools that do not reopen. 

Industry Workers Weigh In

Jessica shares that while many are cautious, some of her co-workers in the childcare industry do want their workplaces to reopen. They want a sense of normalcy to be restored. She reports that a lot of people think that if people gather only on small groups, then it is safe to reopen. She thinks that a lot of childhood education centers will reopen soon on an individual level. 

However, people in early childhood education need to be especially careful. Lark predicts that when this is all over, these centers will have had some of the highest rates of transmission of any type of establishment in this country due to lack of resources and preparation. 

Thanks To All!

We are incredibly grateful to Lark, Christian, and Jessica for being here tonight. Christian is on Twitter and Facebook. His podcast, Modernity and Absurdity, is available on Stitcher, iTunes, and SoundCloud. Jessica is moderator of the Facebook group Nature Preschool Ideas & Community, which is a non-for-profit resource that promotes nature-based education. Lark says that she borrows content from the page all the time. 

Once again, Lark, we are so grateful to have had you on #NJRR Live for the past month. She has been a wonderful co-host. She is on Twitter and Facebook as well. To our watchers, listeners, and readers, as always, thank you so much. New Jersey Revolution Radio is here to bring you the latest on New Jersey art and activism. Please consider donating to independent media. Even a few dollars a month helps us to bring you the best content possible. We will be here as usual with #NJRR Live next week at 8:00 PM EST.

-Leah Giannantonio, for New Jersey Revolution Radio 

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