Dave Grohl expressed his concerns over reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic in a new op-ed published by The Atlantic, which was also read in an audio message and shared across the Foo Fighters’ social media platforms.
In the op-ed, Grohl notes the tireless work ethic of teachers and points to how his mother, a retired school teacher, worked multiple jobs in addition to her regular class scheduled to make ends meet, much like many teachers do today.
Grohl notes, “It takes a certain kind of person to devote their life to this difficult and often-thankless job. I know because I was raised in a community of them…Some even raise rock stars! Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Adam Levine, Josh Groban, and Haim are all children of school workers (with hopefully more academically rewarding results than mine).”
However, Grohl went one to write, “When it comes to the daunting—and ever more politicized—question of reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, the worry for our children’s well-being is paramount. Yet teachers are also confronted with a whole new set of dilemmas that most people would not consider…Most schools already struggle from a lack of resources; how could they possibly afford the mountain of safety measures that will need to be in place?”
Grohl would go on to note that, “…Many career teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers, nurses, and janitors are older and at higher risk.”
“Every school’s working faculty is a considerable percentage of its population, and should be safeguarded appropriately,” wrote Grohl. “I can only imagine if my mother were now forced to return to a stuffy, windowless classroom. What would we learn from that lesson? When I ask what she would do, my mother replies, ‘Remote learning for the time being.'”
Grohl admits that remote learning isn’t ideal and says when helping his three children with remote learning “…was more ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ than ‘Dead Poets Society’.” However, he says opening schools now during the pandemic, “…would be foolish to do so at the expense of our children, teachers, and schools.”
“Every teacher has a ‘plan.’ Don’t they deserve one too?” writes Grohl. “America’s teachers are caught in a trap, set by indecisive and conflicting sectors of failed leadership that have never been in their position and can’t possibly relate to the unique challenges they face. I wouldn’t trust the U.S. secretary of percussion to tell me how to play ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ if they had never sat behind a drum set, so why should any teacher trust Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to tell them how to teach, without her ever having sat at the head of a class? (Maybe she should switch to the drums.)”
He concluded, “Until you have spent countless days in a classroom devoting your time and energy to becoming that lifelong mentor to generations of otherwise disengaged students, you must listen to those who have. Teachers want to teach, not die, and we should support and protect them like the national treasures that they are. For without them, where would we be? May we show these tireless altruists a little altruism in return. I would for my favorite teacher. Wouldn’t you?”