Letter to the Editor: In Support of Pods to Support Working Families

August 29, 2020

Submitted by Adrienne Kimmell

Superintendent Conrad’s recent email to Bedford parents referring to so-called “privilege pods” is tone-deaf at best and reprehensible at worst. As concerning is the possibility that this judgmental and narrow mindset is shared by Bedford administrators and certain students may be treated differently or unfairly.

Parents in Bedford and across the country are struggling to do what is best for their families; balancing health, education, caregiving, and careers.

To suggest that you understand the inner workings and challenges for all families, particularly having been part of our community for such a short time, is misguided and myopic.  Particularly in the case of dual working families or for single parents, remote learning, either full-time or three days per week, may not be feasible. Even for families with one working parent, overseeing remote learning may not be possible due to other responsibilities such as caring for a newborn or aging relative. This has been recognized by state education officials who identify the need for “pods” to support working families.  For those of us with younger students, remote learning requires a watchful eye and constant supervision. I wonder if Mr. Conrad has attempted to oversee remote learning for a kindergartner while doing his own job.

Further, it’s well known that it is women who often bear the brunt of these responsibilities. Perhaps he is suggesting that I step down from my career of over 20 years to oversee my children’s daily assignments and ensure their academic success. To me, that sounds like the definition of white male privilege.

I suggest that Mr. Conrad spend less time judging and shaming Bedford parents and more time reflecting on his own privilege.

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