To Whom Should We Entrust Our Children’s Future?
Not the state or federal government; instead trust the community, and that includes you
If you’re a parent…
If you’re a grandparent…
If you’re an aunt, an uncle, a godparent…
If you care in any way about the children in your community or elsewhere…
then join forces with other caring adults to save the future of those children.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I haven’t seen a single proposal for starting the 2020 school year that isn’t flawed because none are focused on student learning. While they throw the term “learning” into their proposals, none are about learning. They are about teaching; they are about delivering curriculum and making sure students are somehow on the receiving end.
This is understandable, but it is also unacceptable, especially when there is an alternative. And that alternative would be an improvement over what schools were doing prior to the pandemic.
Yes, schools could be better now than before COVID 19.
All the proposals are focused on somehow replicating what schools have always done, just under the circumstances of the pandemic. And what was being done prior to COVID 19 was already totally inadequate. Add in learning losses, increased trauma, and countless other challenges, and trying to replicate what we were doing before could be worse than doing nothing.
Your community — or the community where the children you care about live — could create a proposal to foster the learning, growth, and development of every child in that community that is far superior to what they had prior to the pandemic.
Don’t believe the federal or state government or your local school district — or a private school — when they say they will “educate” your child if all they’re doing is delivering curriculum.
The only way to come out ahead in this pandemic is with plans built around student learning outcomes, and the learning outcomes and plans themselves must be personalized for each child. Anything else is trying to stem learning losses rather than making gains.
And if you think funding shortfalls prevent your community from pursuing this student-outcome approach, think again. The high costs being discussed for restarting school are based on trying to do what we’ve always done — deliver the same curriculum to every child.
We can emerge from this pandemic — and countless other challenges — far better than before, but it will require putting faith in people instead of institutions and stop believing schools must somehow look like schools have always looked.
We cannot afford to turn away any longer. I have posted three companion pieces to this brief essay that go into greater detail on why it is imperative the factory model of schools is replaced, how the process of reinventing the local school model can address other community challenges, and how a community can design a better school model than what’s been used for the last 125 years.
Had we done this sooner, the pandemic would have had minimal impact on student learning, growth, and development and our communities would have been far better prepared to deal with all the related challenges. If there are children you care about, this is the time to act and become a real change agent. The future of our world may depend on it.
A Boomer who joined the Army during the Cold War and continues to serve. Kevin spent 30-plus years working in K-12 education as a teacher, administrator, and consultant. His book, Know Power, Know Responsibility, provides the imperatives for a complete redesign of schools and the way to get there.