Schools and the Coronavirus — Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice
Close the schools, an anxious neighbor says on Nextdoor (a local online bulletin board), when a parent of two school children in the community in which I live came in contact with someone who was infected with the coronavirus (see comment below: a careful reader noted that the source I used said the parent was […]Schools and the Coronavirus — Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice
If you’ve been following my blog or Twitter feed, then you know I am a huge fan of Larry Cuban. His post could not have come at a more opportune time as school closures have become a reality, both in the U.S. and abroad.
As a classroom teacher, I have been thinking about the impact of school closures on the students from my district. I work at a Title I school which means that the majority of my students come from low-SES households. As Larry points out, school closures disproportionately affect the poor. For some parents missing work means losing pay; while for others it means scrambling to find someone who can take care of their child while they go to work. We also provide breakfast and lunch for many students. Concurring with Larry, if my school closes, those students would have to find a different means of getting food. Closing the schools would create an economic hardship for those parents. For parents of middle school children (like the ones I teach), I suppose they could stay home unsupervised, but for children in elementary school…well, that’s another story.
I was thinking about the online learning option that several schools have chosen to do. But then again, the online option assumes that students have access to a device and the Internet which is not the reality for all students at my school, let alone my district.
So what is a school to do? How can we keep the learning going?
To be clear, I’m not worried about making sure that my students acquire the content information or skills to pass the state or district exams. That is not my concern. My concern is to ensure that my students do not fall behind in content and skills acquisition, in general. My secondary concern is to provide for my students some semblance of normalcy in a confusing and scary time. Students often look to schools as a safe-haven because it’s something they know–it’s something they are used to going to five days a week. The events of 9/11 clearly showed that.
How can I support my students when being physically present at school is not a possibility? What can I do for those who do not have access to reliable Internet connectivity?
I don’t have an answer to any of those questions. But I am currently working through some viable options for my students. I hope you are, too.