During this time of remote learning for our students, I hope school leaders take to heart these insights and are moved to change our schools for the better.
There are gross inequalities in the opportunities for our students and we need to aggressively narrow the gap. Access to the internet is one that needs to be rectified immediately. This inequality of access was obvious with negative repercussions before and beyond this pandemic. Inequalities in how our students are supported and their type of social networks had a bright light shined on them. Stop spending resources and money on chasing standardized test scores with test-focused curriculum and benchmark testing, start using these resources for programs like enhancing mental health services, restoring the fine arts in schools, and offering workplace learning through partnerships with the business communities. Stop the nonsense of pursuing equity of outcomes for all students and start focusing on creating more equity in the opportunities for all students.
School leaders need to seek out the best innovations and solutions that teachers used to support students. The teachers really stepped up during this time. Teachers were expected to make large shifts in their teaching and creating learning opportunities for their students. They delivered. It was not you overloading them with educational technology tools that created the best learning experiences. It was not your poorly designed assessment guidelines that made improvements to the way students are assessed and understood. It was a teacher connecting with students that developed better methods. That sounds harsh, but the situation and system kept you removed from developing and implementing the right practices. Listen to your teachers, they can help guide you in making learning relevant and meaningful. One of your primary jobs now is to find these bright spots with your team and begin to spread these strategies and tactics for learning across your whole district.