Parents and educational advocates are doing some amazing work.
At the onset of the pandemic, I had a conversation with parents and educational leaders and said, “This is the time that parents, students, and teachers are going to have to truly ban together in order to reimagine education!”
Unfortunately, the educational system and power structure did what it does best and caused educational leaders, teachers, parents, and students to be more deeply divided than ever.
Over the three school years that we have been working to educate children in public schools during the pandemic, I have attended meetings where I’ve been the only teacher and male. Many of the issues parents are addressing are only the symptoms. The root causes are issues that teachers are bound by contract not to speak about, and they fear being silenced by being pushed out or retaliated against.
Teachers and parents are rarely in spaces where they can freely talk about issues happening in public education and brainstorm on ways to improve educational outcomes for students.
As a teacher, I must confess the real issue isn’t learning loss.
Learning loss is nothing new. It’s a reflection of the poor implementation of academic programs and strategies. This doesn’t mean that teachers and administrators are bad. It does mean there is a major issue with equity.
Students receiving extra support they need is not necessarily learning loss. When students do not have these supports, it is a failure of the school system leadership, local LEA, and building leaders.
Many outside of the world of education don’t realize that a paraeducator, nurse, speech therapists are all resources for teachers and students, not only the special education teachers! How we look at special education and exceptional learners plays a major role in why the issue of learning loss is just now being elevated.
Parents are in an uproar about learning loss because they are experiencing what the parents of students who have accommodations experience daily.
However we may have reached this common census of needing to reimagine education is fine with me. I want children to have better experiences and outcomes with learning.
This is going to require us to reimagine education. We have to realign how we are utilizing instructional staff and leaders who are not inside classrooms.
Rethinking how instructional leaders, coaches, specialists, coordinators are directly impacting teaching and learning in every classroom is key.
We have to reimagine how education is done in order to get what needs to be done for all children to succeed academically and socially.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.