In this installment of the True Literacy video column, Dr. Michael Hart shares his thoughts on the limitations of online learning platforms during this unprecedented pandemic and the path ahead to address lost learning. He points to statistics out of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta emphasizing nearly 25% failure of student logins and a consistent lack of computer hardware and software that is impeding the learning process.
While the online setbacks are affecting all students across the country, it’s the most vulnerable students that face the most difficulties. For families who need to maintain focus on the basic necessities, adding an online education program on top of an already challenging situation can be both daunting and stressful.
There is a new reality taking place, and as we collectively soak in this unique experience, all of us must be open to adapting to future challenges. Leaders in education across the world are not just sitting on their hands; they are working very hard to come up with a recovery plan that is not only effective but makes sense in the immediate future.
Solution suggestions and cost of education recovery:
1. In various parts of the United States, there’s talk of a massive summer school and a lighter curriculum for a recovery year.
2. Some are suggesting the idea of year-round school moving forward, while others are talking about extended school days.
3. Every recommendation is receiving pushback from somebody ─ either parents or teachers, and the unions are also heavily involved.
4. All of it is going to be extremely expensive. Part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package includes about $13.5 billion for K-12 schools. Unfortunately, it is not nearly enough to cover the issue. A coalition of administrators and teachers will be seeking an additional $200 billion to figure out solutions to pay for catching up for the time missed during this past school year.
So, what’s the answer? At present, we simply don’t know. Many highly respected people are working on the solution for an unprecedented and unique experience. All of it will take more time. Meanwhile, parents and other stakeholders can use the suggestions below to help navigate and position themselves for the changes ahead.
3 suggestions for handling future educational realities:
1. It’s essential for parents to recognize the brutal fact that there will be a regression in our children’s skills. If we work from that as a baseline, we can begin to figure out how to deal with it functionally, socially and emotionally. Although this reality may be extraordinarily difficult to think about, especially for kids with learning differences, it’s important to remember that in the end, our children will be okay, and they will thrive.
2. Patience and compassion are needed for everyone involved. No one alive has experienced this type of pandemic before. It came down upon us so rapidly with such devastating force that it was shocking. We have to remain compassionate to the fact that, in many ways, we’re reeling from it, and it will take time to adjust.
3. Find the balance for your family. Nurture your family. Reach out electronically to your extended family and friends. Use this unique time to reset from the hectic pace that we usually find ourselves in because, in just a few short months from now, we will be back to our familiar rhythm. Take time to meditate and reflect on how we want this experience to inform our future and help dictate the decisions we make about living our lives.
“I hope the information is of value as we all navigate through the challenges we are collectively facing,” shared Dr. Hart. “I look forward to talking to you again very soon.”