Education Rock and Hard Place

Since my blogging at Citymoms is supposed to be more positive, I’m going to post here.

Virtual Pre-K

So we had a video session with Destructo’s new teacher and classmates. It did not go all that well. My spouse is a hopeful man and despite all the disastrous Zoom sessions with his daycare and Sunday school group, with kids he knew and liked, he thinks the virtual classroom thing is going to work going forward. I think trying to hold a wriggly and loud toddler still for a camera, 2 seconds after he’s lost interest, is an unnamed circle of Dante’s Inferno.

Virtual classroom learning is not for everyone. It is clearly not Destructo’s style. Have you ever taken a course? I highly recommend it and it’s free through the DC Library. However, I have to be very motivated to finish a full course, and I’m an adult. Destructo is a hands on boy who needs positive peer pressure with kids around his own age or older.

But he’s not going to be in a classroom anytime soon. My theory is things don’t get back to normal until 2022. I’m not going to force him to sit in front of a screen for any amount of time. Some Pre-K kids do well with the virtual environment, ours doesn’t. Until things get back to normal, we’re going to have to cobble together something. While in the middle of moving. I feel like I’m juggling sippy cups, not disastrous if something drops, but still a mess.

Schools between rock and a hard place

Teachers, school supers and boards have my sympathy. If this was actually temporary, this would have been a bump that could have been remedied with extra in school time. But we are where we are. Whatever the powers that be do, they are damned. They don’t open, lots of kids’ educations will suffer, educational inequality will get worse, special needs will not be met, and minors’ mental health will degrade. They do open, they will be blamed for spreading the virus, not keeping kids safe, endangering compromised staff and students, and be liable to possible lawsuits. They open partially, then they get all of the damnation and I’ve mentioned the problem with virtual learning.

Asking schools to have a good universal virtual learning programming for all grades for Fall is akin to expecting a mom and pop eatery to be a Michelin starred or bib gourmand listed within the first year. It could happen, but highly unlikely.  There are kinks to be worked out, lessons to be learned, and discoveries of what does and doesn’t work. Despite all the happy positive talk, I don’t expect DCPS, DC Charters or any school system to hit the ground running without falling face flat. I don’t expect students to get the same or better level of education they would have gotten in an in-person space.

Looking Forward

We have a bunch of balls in the air. We are in temporary digs. Like many, we’re working from home. We are trying to get our long time home on the market and later find new digs close to family and the Help’s church friends. The potty training and any decent education is on the side burner.

We keep saying to ourselves that once we get settled, we’ll see what we can do with Destructo’s Sunday school buddies. We’ll look into a nanny share or attempting to hire a nanny. Because of the age cut offs in Maryland vs DC, Destructo isn’t eligible to transfer to private MD Pre-K3 from his DCPS public school. Waiting lists are going to be crazy.

And because people like trying to send parents on guilt trips, don’t even. Unless you’re a child care provider offering hours of free care, keep it to yourself. Many parents all over this country are making hard decisions. Some have choices, some don’t and the availability of those choices change day by day. This pandemic has stolen options and removed safety nets.

No Longer Housing for the Poor

So another house on my block is up for sale, however it isn’t listed on the MLS. Zillow allows people to sell their homes without an agent, and so it is a for sale by owner (FSBO) thing going on.


It’s the blue house and the owner has listed it at $760K, rounding up. Zillow tells me that with a 10% down payment, it would be less than $4,000 a month, 20% then $3216 a month. So one would need to be fairly middle class to afford to purchase this home on this lovely block. Whenever we can get our own house on the market the same would apply as the price point would be in the same neighborhood (get it?).

This was the house Drama Momma used to live in. I suspect when she was there it was a Section 8 house. The owner then was a Black man who owned another house that had a much better, more neighborly and quiet Section 8 tenant. However, 2008 happened and the real estate bubble burst and he was forced to sell the properties.

That owner sold the house to the current owner. Joe, the current owner, lived in the house for a little bit then rented it (market rate I think) to two wonderful neighbors, a married couple. They rented it for years and it was great having them on the block as they added to the awesomeness that is and was the 1600 block of 4th St. But they moved. [sad face]

It has been well over a decade since it was last poor people housing. The current economics and housing market means it won’t be poor people housing again any time soon. The approved rents DC Housing would cover for a 2 bedroom without utilities,would not cover the estimated monthly payments for the owner.

Now going back to the 1880 census, this was poor people housing. Check out for the data. In 1880 the house was occupied by William Tadd or Todd, a black Laborer, his wife a laundress and their 20 year old son. They lived there along with the Wheeler family, headed by another William, a carpenter. His wife did not work outside of the home as she was caring for their 5 year old son. In 1900 the house was no less crowded, with 8 residents, several laborers, but all one family. In 1910, the 6 occupants were one family with a male breadwinner, a porter, and his mother in law was a “domestic”. By 1920 the number is down to 5 people, but it is headed by a widowed charwoman, who with her nephew had three male roomers, whose jobs were listed as Helpers. But in 1930, the widow was married, but still head of a household of two. The young man listed as her 6 year old nephew became her 17 year old cousin. In 1940 he returns to being a nephew and she returns to being a widow (retired?) and they gain an unemployed female boarder. The nephew in 1940 was a doorman.

Knowing the general history of the neighborhood between 1940-2010, it was more than likely remaining housing for the working class and poor. All the residents between 1880-1940 were renters. So it’s been rental for well over 100 years, with the odd blip of Joe living in it.