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Senate Education in the age of COVID and beyond - what should it be?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Nov 21, 2020.

  1. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    I created a thread on this years ago, but the more time I've had working in education, the more I want more radical changes than "reform" no longer seems like the right word.

    The recent actions by my governor and others to force schools to be in-person during a pandemic, or else the students won't learn as much, has just reinvigorated my feelings about how misguided the education system is (at least in the US, can't speak for other countries).

    Having schools open and COVID-safe has meant almost all benefits of in-person teaching are already gone or greatly diminished... and they haven't really been made COVID-safe with the circulation/ventilation, heating, regular asymptomatic testing, and PPE issues, And winter is coming. While in-person learning is more effective than virtual over long periods of time, any teacher who’s been in-person so far will tell you it’s been a nightmare and the safety measures have stopped most benefits of in-person learning. Health comes first: healthy students with living teachers and family members, it’s definitely worth it. Those vocal parents against distance learning don't understand the current state of capacity in the schools, and how it would end with students all huddled together in the cafeteria being watched over by the few adults left in the building.

    Those saying students won’t learn as much: true. But my opinion? For too many years we’ve been trying to cram more and more in each school year and each school day, teach things earlier, teach algebra in 5th grade, then in 4th grade... which exposes students to a lot, but over-stresses them out, and we have people in high school who still don’t know their times tables or how to write an essay. The college bubble is going to burst. The “STEM jobs of the 21st century” are starting to go obsolete now -- we’re 1/5 through this century already, and a majority of students were never going to be engineers anyways, and that’s ok!
    So let’s transform education. Make the high school diploma the gold standard again, make it mean something, de-stigmatize being held back a grade. Focus on the practical as the basics, learning at their own pace, and then nurture their actual love of learning. For those students who still want to do Algebra 2 and Trig, and are self-determined for a STEM job? Good for them, that can be how they nurture their curiosity. But how about we focus on making sure 100% of students not only know basic arithmetic and simple algebra, but also how to write a cover letter and resume, learn about budgeting and credit, are prepared to be informed voters and aware of other cultures, know basic facts about the universe, know how to be healthy physically and emotionally, know how to tell fact from fiction online, and build transferable skills for jobs in areas they’re passionate about and find self-fulfilling. Make learning fun, not a never ending escalation of stress. This is the opportunity to re-prioritize and make education work for all our students.

    This is THE opportunity to rethink education, and re-prioritize what is taught and how. We’ve been cramming too much of everything into each school day and each school year, and student stress was already very high before the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time failing to deliver results to our students -- failing those who “failed” and even those who “excelled.” Make the high school diploma the gold standard again instead of a college degree, rethink homework, rethink grades (both the scores/tests and the age groups and “holding back”), rethink subjects and what in them is prioritized. Focus on the fundamentals, the true practical fundamentals at the pace that works best for each individual, then life/citizenship/financial skills and personalized learning.

    And I haven't even touched upon how inequitable school funding tends to be.

    Destroy this from the foundation and build something new, something that works, for these times and the future, with people always first.

    What does everyone else think about the current state of Education? What do you think should change?
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
  2. harpua

    harpua Chosen One star 9

    Mar 12, 2005
    Do we really need another covid thread?
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
    Jedi Knight Fett likes this.
  3. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    I almost didn't have COVID in the title, the part of the title can be eliminated and just have it named "Education - what it should be." But I asked if people would be interested in me making another thread on Education and people seemed to be ok with it. Just about everything I said would still be true even without COVID. It's why I also added "and beyond." Though in general, it would be weird to not talk about COVID when talking about how to change education right now, it is a global pandemic and schools are a big part of the conversation right now.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
    Runjedirun likes this.
  4. Runjedirun

    Runjedirun Force Ghost star 6

    Sep 3, 2012
    As a parent I am glad to discuss these topics.

    First of all here in Fairfax County VA I have been very pleased with virtual learning. Both of my children were issued laptops. I have a 7th grader and a 2nd grader who is diagnosed with autism. My 7th graders classes are actually pretty amazing. The kids have break out rooms and discussions in groups like real meeting in a real job setting. They are going to be wizzes at computer conferences and airlines of the future may as well forget business travel being a thing. Our kids will know it's unnecessary to meet face to face. The one thing my 7th grader struggles with is doing work outside of class. He was in elementary school from K-6 where they did not assign homework. There is a "let kids be kids" philosophy and then the kids get to middle school and they just expect them to understand the concept of homework when it's never been done before. I do not think it's good to overload kids with homework at any age, but I also think they should at least get used to the idea from a young age since it will be expected of them later on.

    My 2nd grader also did very well online. He got a lot of one on one with his teacher. He also had many breaks throughout the day because his teacher only has 4 students and she spends a large portion of each day working individually with her students, they come together for Science and Social Studies, but Math and Reading are one on one since the kids all have learning disabilities. My son actually went back in the classroom 4 days a week beginning on Oct 27. More kids were supposed to follow, but our #'s have been too high so right now only children with IEP's are in the building. He loves being back in person.

    My 2nd grader does attend morning meeting with a regular 2nd grade class and that class also seems to go well. The kids are not camera shy and love to talk on screen. My son took a very long time to warm up but just recently has begun sharing too. Hopefully he will be able to join regular class for Science and Social Studies soon. He's pretty high functioning.

    My one annoyance with virtual learning is that every Monday is a day to simply catch up because they think all the kids are behind. What? My kid rolls out of bed and attends school in his Pajamas. He's living the life. He has no excuse to be behind. Why is it that they think kids will struggle just because they don't have to commute into the school building? Maybe because I give my kids too much screen time, even before the Pandemic and they just are super comfortable with computers? I would love for my 7th grader to get the middle school experience but I am much happier right now knowing we are all safe and healthy.
    Master_Lok and Ghost like this.
  5. 3sm1r

    3sm1r Force Ghost star 5

    Dec 27, 2017
    I have this constant nightmare about a world in which online material has become so good and accessible that kids don't even go to school anymore and they just learn from home in front of a laptop and they grow up without interacting with each other and teachers slowly disappear and everything gets colder and less human.
  6. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett PT Interview Host star 10 VIP - Game Host

    Feb 18, 2014
    As someone who is going through college I would say I still much prefer in person class. However I think it would be great if from now on online classes where an option for people who are sick or what have you.

    Plus online learning could forever put an end to the show day.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
  7. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    Any more thoughts on what I wrote in the original post, that go way beyond COVID?
  8. Cynda

    Cynda Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 20, 2014
    Ghost and anakinfansince1983 like this.