The world of education has changed substantially due to the COVID-19 virus. Our schools have encountered some of the most significant challenges we have ever faced. Students are struggling with their grades, their mental health and other ill effects of this long period of isolation. We need to be very intentional about our next steps and we need funding to make those changes. Particularly in our public schools there was much need for help even before the pandemic. Now our schools need a recovery time and the ability to restart with the resources needed to move out of the varied consequences of COVID-19.
In a recent edition of the Hechinger Report, Andre Perry wrote an article about this issue. Here are some quotes from the article:
We’re still waiting on the name of Biden’s education secretary, the person who will help lead our schools out of one of the biggest crises in the history of American education.
Because of President Donald Trump’s clownish denial of the election results, Biden got a later start than his predecessors at naming his nominees for the top spots in his nascent administration, and there are many more departmental roles Biden must begin to fill.
However, if there is anything that the entire country can agree on it is that our schools are in the middle of an epic disaster. Uneven access to broadband, resource disparities between upper- and lower-income districts and differences in family resources across racial lines, foreshadow widening achievement gaps. Also, parents are tired of playing the roles of substitute teacher, lunch lady and security guard (all at the same time). They desperately need to hear when and how all students might return to schools safely.
The country needs an education secretary who understands the systemic nature of our current problems, across sectors.
We need leadership on this issue — yesterday.
Some may think that once we have a vaccine we can just go back to what we used to do in schools. I don’t think that will be the case. We will need to think seriously about so much that we have learned recently. We’ll need to restructure our schools into places of safety where students can recover, grow and develop – in an albeit different, but healthy – environment. It is our hope that we get a Secretary of Education who will be trauma-informed and sensitive to our academics but also the emotional environments of our schools. As the article states, “We need leadership on this issue —yesterday!”