Most Academics Went Silent. Why?

Vinay Prasad

Of course, some academics were notably vocal during COVID-19, taking the thesis position – lockdown, school closure, masking, temperature checks – or the antithesis – that these interventions don’t work or did more harm than good. But notably most academics were silent.

I understand why laboratory scientists might have stayed out of it, but two groups puzzle me: global health advocates and early life course/ disparities researchers who were quiet.

Lockdowns might ultimately be the single most destabilizing event in the last 25 years globally. They have led to famine and extreme poverty like we have never seen in modern times. Oxfam warned last summer that 11 people die each minute from hunger, outpacing covid.

A generation of kids have lost their future. UNICEF reported in March 2021 that 168 million kids lost a year of school, and many lost more.

India faced some of the longest closures, mortgaging the future of tens of millions of kids, leading to catastrophic educational losses.

School closures in the USA were disproportionately in liberal strongholds and attitudes were temporaly linked to Trump’s advocacy. Closing school for more than a year is the greatest domestic policy failure of the last 25 years. As a lifelong Democrat/ progressive, I know with confidence that my team is responsible for this. 

Yet, throughout this pandemic, notice how many global health scholars were totally silent on lockdowns. How many global health researchers said nothing as India sacrificed the future of a generation with school closures? How many US based disparity researchers or early childhood advocates were silent on school closure? I believe most were quiet!

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?