Thanks in large part to the Trump administration’s confusion-sowing approach to COVID-19 safety messaging, the so-called “reopening” of schools has somehow become a topic of debate, as if risking students and faculty in the name of faux flattery optics is even remotely a good idea.
It’s a baffling debate that’s close to the heart of artist Dave Grohl, whose own mother spent years as a school teacher and—as the Nirvana/Foo Fighters icon explained as part of his Dave’s True Stories series on Wednesday—is firmly against the push to get kids back into the classroom amid a pandemic.
“With me being a high school dropout, you’d imagine that the current debate surrounding the reopening of schools wouldn’t register so much as a blip on my rock ‘n’ roll radar, right?” Grohl said during his “In Defense of Our Teachers” audio message. “Wrong. My mother was a public school teacher. As a single mother of two, she tirelessly devoted her life to the service of others, both at home and at work.”
Grohl added that his mother will “forever be” his favorite teacher, despite never actually having been her student. From there, he moved his message to a defense of both faculty and students, taking specific aim at the Trump administration for getting us all in this shitstorm to begin with.
“Today, those challenges could mean life or death for some,” he said. “When it comes to the daunting and evermore politicized question of reopening schools in 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.”
After touching on many of those COVID-19 era concerns, which he said he recently discussed with his mother on the phone, Grohl continued:
“As much as Donald Trump’s conductorless orchestra would love to see the country prematurely open schools in the name of rosy optics, ask a science teacher what they think about White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s comment that ‘science should not stand in the way,'” Grohl said. “It 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?”
And in arguably the most quotable moment from Grohl’s message, he referenced a classic Nirvana cut.
“I wouldn’t trust the U.S. Secretary of Percussion to tell me how to play ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ if they’d never sat behind a drum set,” he joked. “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?”
Hear Grohl’s full message below: