Saturday, August 08, 2020

Frightening changes for schools, educators, and students

The pandemic has laid bare society's inequalities and long neglected organizations and instituations. Sadly, we see this reality in education in multiple ways.

Teachers left out of the narrative

Too many educators have been left out of decision making conversations and choices in significant ways. Instead, many who are not teaching/learning experts, have been leading the narrative for schools in the fall. This is frightening since many of those individuals don't understand learning with a modern lens and real experiences thus too many of the stories I read and hear don't represent what it means to teach well. Instead many narratives are more about warehousing children--this is very sad, but not surprising since the Trump team shows little regard for children in general.

Poor priorities

Instead of focusing on what it means to be healthy and well-educated, most of the priorities focus on how to warehouse children with the fewest number of deaths or grave illnesses. This is a deficit model, not a strengths model for learning. This appears to support the Trump team's will to keep a servant class in the United States--a class that does the service work with few to no supports that helps those people live and rise up in healthy and positive ways.

Private takeover of public education

Privateers are seeing this poor education management as an opportunity to make money. In so many ways, public schools systems are responding to privateers' glitzy, cost-saving messages. These privateers don't represent significant skill or investment in good education, but instead a mediocre-at-best response to systems' needs for remote education, school building/tech quick-fixes, and pass-the-buck-solutions. Too often, public school leaders and decision makers are attracted to the slick marketing, low costs, and empty promises of privateers in education who are out to make a quick buck without any true concern about deep and valuable education. 

Denial of the real issues

As I listen to many decision makers discuss education in the fall, they appear to ignore the science behind this pandemic and they don't take the pandemic risks seriously. They also ignore the social issues that this pandemic lays bare. I wish that decision makers and leaders would look for the promise in the pandemic with the following questions:

  • How can we use this time to uplift families, schools, and community life?
  • How can we build a more scientific savvy society, a society that takes science seriously and reacts responsively?
  • How can we collectively learn from our error during this virus--what did we do wrong and how can we change that now and into the future?
What can we do?

I am worried for our country right now. I am worried because too many leaders are putting their own wealth and privilege ahead of the needs of most people and society in general. Many of these decision makers do not have a strong vision for our country--they can't see beyond their own pleasure and privilege. What can we do? 

First, we have to look for the good leaders and support them in ways that we can. We have to follow their lead with regard to how to stop the spread including wearing masks, washing our hands often, using hand sanitizer, getting tested when needed, and not supporting decisions that elevate the spread and threat. We also have to advocate for decisions that help people--for those who need childcare, I believe we have to provide a stipend to help out. For those who  have been asked to work in dangerous, unhealthy situations, we should provide a safe, financially viable way to avoid those situations. We have to support essential services by providing financial and infrastructure support to make those supports a reality.


Our country is suffering right now from a lack of a common vision. We need to come together with some common principals and direction. Too many have lost sight of what it means to live in a free country and the responsibility that's required. In too many ways, we've become a corporate state putting the rights and profits of corporations ahead of human rights and good living. We need leaders that will bring us together with a vision and direction that is right for all, not just a wealthy few. We can do this.