I have been watching with great interest, the local, state, and national discussions regarding schools re-opening or having virtual learning occur. I understand the arguments on both sides and know that the longer students are kept out of classroom learning, the more educational and social harm that can occur to a student.
With that being said, I wonder if the discussion should be centered on whether or not schools should be open or if we should discuss how to best educate children and especially assist students with a disability given it is the 21st century. If we are being honest, our current approach to educating students is not very effective for poor children, minority children, and especially for students with a disability.
When less than 50% of disabled students graduate from high school within four years and when we know the challenges parents face with school personnel when designing an IEP for their child, maybe we ought to be use this time to define how we can revise our approach to educating a child, so that child can succeed in all life has to offer.
What I’m suggesting is that we look at alternatives than traditional approaches.
Let’s look less at textbook learning and more at hands on learning and teaching skills that are needed in today’s world. Let’s realize that the demands on teachers are great and that adding additional demands like teaching online only puts more demand on teachers who are already overworked and highly under paid.
Let’s realize that for many, access to the internet only occurs when they go to their local library, most of which are now closed.
Let’s look at education being about measurable outcomes and not test scores. Outcomes that show a student is progressing to the ultimate goal of being able to pursue opportunities in life that we all can do equally. Let’s truly pursue equity.
Asking someone whether they should open or close schools, when the “same old same old” occurs, might not be the best way to address all that is needed.
Let’s use this opportunity, if you can look at it as such, to improve many of the old and outdated systems no longer capable of delivering value.