The closing of schools across the country for the remainder of the school year because of the coronavirus has presented many challenges for educators and parents alike.
School districts have been experimenting with the implementation of on-line classes in their effort to provide a meaningful learning experience for students of all ages.
Parents have been enlisted in this effort to varying degrees, mostly-dependent upon the age of their children. High schoolers are able to do what they need to do with little parental supervision and guidance.
On the other hand, parents of children in the youngest age-groups have been required to spend a lot of time with their children in order to assist teachers in fulfilling the school system’s, and their child’s, educational needs and goals.
In our view, the coronavirus has brought to the forefront a number of issues with our educational system in general, and on-line learning in particular.
First and foremost, remote learning can be only as successful as the technological capabilities of the students, their families, and their households. Access to high-speed internet and ownership of up-to-date hardware (and software) are crucial to successful on-line learning.
Second, the degree to which young students are dependent upon their parents to make on-line learning a meaningful experience has become painfully obvious. Parents need to have the time, the patience, the skills, and a certain degree of knowledge if they are going to participate meaningfully in their children’s at-home instruction.
Third, parents have discovered that instructing younger children is far more complex a task than just knowing the ABCs and basic arithmetic. The large number of parents who basically have given up on the process as the pandemic grinds on attests to the frustration of the average parent in attempting to participate meaningfully in their children’s education.
Finally, the current crisis has brought into crystal-clear clarity the crucial role played by teachers in educating and inspiring our nation’s children. Until now, most parents — and certainly non-parents — have taken for granted the unique and amazing job performed each day by America’s educators. The typical parent puts their child on the bus, gets them off the bus, and that’s about it.
But just as the pandemic has highlighted the incredible work that our first and second-level responders accomplish day-in and day-out, so too, the value of America’s educators has become abundantly clear to all.
We hope that one of the lasting effects of the pandemic is the degree to which we acknowledge that our children’s education — and the very future of our country — depends upon a well-funded public educational system, and that the backbone of that system are our qualified, professional, and dedicated teachers.