… making rash decisions about what should and should be done with public education in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
In the next few days, the North Carolina General Assembly will somehow convene for the next short session. And they will surely have to tackle issues surrounding the top investment this state makes – its public school system.
Waivers from the federal level have been granted and the NCGA SHOULD grant waivers for all state mandated tests and the use of the school performance grading system. However, the disconnect that many a lawmaker has regarding the relationship between educational policy and educational reality has already existed for quite a while. This epidemic has surely widened that disconnect.
I would invite every lawmaker to “virtually sub” for a day. Literally step into the virtual shoes of a real teacher trying to educate in this present situation. What might be noticed is that the very essence of effective teaching is the ability to marry the art of delivering instruction to a prescribed curriculum in multiple ways at the same time to reach as many different learning styles and perspectives as there are students in the classroom.
Or the virtual classroom.
This is the sixth week of school closures. In my twenty-three year career in the classroom and the time I spent in grad school and obtaining certification, never have I spent as much concentrated time reflecting on teaching and learning. Never have I spent more time and energy looking for resources, testing them, and trying to use them for the benefit of my students and their needs. And what I have learned myself will be of great benefit for the rest of my career.
But there are some things that have not changed in my perspective on public education.
- Every student can learn.
- Every student is an expert on his/her life.
- Intelligence is not a number.
- No student is standard.
- Tests only offer a glimpse.
- Politicians should listen more to teachers.
- Technology can never replace the student / teacher relationship.
As a teacher, I would invite any lawmaker to “sub” for a day in any of the virtual classes that are being taught or even facilitate distance learning in this crisis.
Actually, I would invite them to do it when we get back to actual classrooms.