This post is brought to you by Remake Learning and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
2020 hasn’t been the year that any of us expected it to be but maybe it’s exactly what we needed. Before COVID, scientists, educators, and communities saw the need for something different. They’ve been exploring new forms of learning, assessment, support, and connection for students, but it’s taken a pandemic to make us realize changes need to be made to the way our kids learn.
The nation has also been grappling more directly with systemic racial injustice than it has since the height of the Civil Rights movement. The pandemic has made socioeconomic and racial divides in education more visible than ever and school districts are being asked to address this fundamental problem.
We say we want things to go back to how they used to be before the pandemic but is that really what we want?
Over the past five months we’ve had time to step back, evaluate, and re-prioritize equity, empathy, justice, and love among our top priorities.
We’ve had the chance to:
- Acknowledge the ways in which learners of color have been systematically harmed by education policies, practices and mindsets and develop anti-racist education cultures
- Recognize many forms of success, enabling each learner to succeed regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status
- Prioritize relationships, surrounding children and youth with supportive individuals
- Reflect humanizing mindsets and narratives
- Allow flexibility across space and time
With so much of the traditional structure of K-12 schooling upended, true long-term change is more possible. It’s vitally important that we use this unique opportunity to urge our school districts to make innovative choices now to serve all learners in the long run.
The pandemic has weakened some of the barriers to change that have kept outdated learning systems in place. It’s not ok to return to the old slio-ed and unjust “normal” once the virus has been controlled.
As we prepare for a school year like no other, Tomorrow, powered by Remake Learning collaborated with KnowledgeWorks on a report examining pre-pandemic learning. This report, titled Remaking Tomorrow: Learning in a Post-Pandemic Future, is part of Remake Learning’s Tomorrow campaign.
Launched in May, Tomorrow, was designed to drive the conversation around what we can do today to make tomorrow a more promising place for all learners. However, this new report that came out on August 10 informs and inspires stakeholders but has findings that are useful for school districts and parents everywhere.
The ideas in this report re-emphasize the importance of relationships, personalized learning, and accountability and acknowledgement. While these ideas aren’t new to education, the innovative approaches have resulted from education disrupted by the virus.
As a teacher and parent, I love the 3 main focus points in Remaking Tomorrow: Learning in a Post-Pandemic Future. It highlights the importance of making learning equitable and engaging. It focuses on relevant learning practices that support health, wellness, and human development. It also prioritizes relationships among families, peers, educators, and mentors so learners can thrive.
I think we can all agree that the COVID-19 pandemic and current, necessary uprising against the nation’s long standing systemic racism brought the immense need to renegotiate the power dynamics surrounding education. It’s time to question assumptions and find new narratives that can enable new solutions because schools are not alone in educating children.
We’ve seen new levels of parental involvement since last spring’s school disruption. There are nationwide examples of children benefiting from whole-community involvement in learning. From internships to increases support from out-of-school-time providers, kids thrive when the whole community participates in decision-making and encouragement of their growth.
Let’s use our new learning to Remake Tomorrow. Remaking Tomorrow: Learning in a Post-Pandemic Future is a way we can all move forward together.
Because as the report says, “The future is everyone’s business.”
Images courtesy of Remake Learning. Compensation was received for this post but all opinions are my own.