Striving to Come Up Short

As time has gone on, we’ve seen and read countless headlines and articles about education and the impact of the current pandemic on the underlying systems of support our students and their families have come to rely on.

The emerging popular narrative is summed up by this heading from a large hardware manufacturer’s website: “eLearning and Remote Teaching: Recreating the Experience of the Classroom Online”. While this is one microcosmic example, other evidence abounds that as a society, many people are looking to return to or recreate the way things were before the pandemic and hold that as the gold standard of what education could be.

For many, the idea of ‘it worked for us’ or ‘was good enough for us’ is taking over as the dominant storyline. The problem with ‘it worked for us’, is that it only works if you are an ‘us’. If you are a ‘them’, by definition, it doesn’t work. If you are a member of the BIPOC community, LGBTQ+ community, an economically disadvantaged family, or part of any other population or community that has been historically marginalized or underserved, then you are likely to be much less excited about returning to that same system.

Before we rush back to a system that worked for ‘us’, let’s consider how we can make everyone an ‘us’ through meaningful dialogue, process and policy changes, thoughtful decision-making using the idea of education experience (EDU/X) and day-in-the-life simulations, and a growth mindset about our system. More than anything, let’s focus on what education could be instead of what it was.

Quick note: This commentary is on the overall conversation surrounding education right now. There are absolutely some school systems that have endeavored to take the road less traveled- seeking to innovate and create a system that better serves their students. They are working toward building out new structures where previous structures have been failing to align with the rigorous brain-based education research that has proven we know a better way. More on that in the future…