The University of Colorado Boulder and the Colorado Department of Education are making plans for in-person learning this fall. Your take?
And? Shouldn’t we all be making plans and plans for those plans and maybe more plans? Every morning I wake up to a wildly changed news cycle where another entrenched system is being completely uprooted and is needing to make plans for the change we are experiencing. The only constant is change and in 2020, mind-blowing rapid change.
But let’s talk about planning for a moment. Raise your hand if you saw some sort of crack in the foundations of our education system, especially higher education, long before this? How many of you can say that these institutions weren’t already ripe for disruption or knew they were not capable of withstanding a major shift without some significant changes?
Are we (they, any of us) planning so that we can restore or uphold what once was? Then we have a problem. Are we planning for a new normal — only what is necessary? Still a little short-sighted and certainly doesn’t maximize the opportunity. Or are we planning to cultivate our imagination and redefine prosperity/success for the next generation with greater equity and justice for all? Boom.
Granted, I get the latter is much harder to grasp especially when most of us are in some sort of crisis, but there is a reason why our country’s most significant changes occur after major disruptions … it is when we are most open to it.
When we are entrenched in our routines, comfort and systems, we aren’t likely to consider change or those other than ourselves or the less fortunate. It takes a proverbial wake-up call — something that hits close to home and for most, the financial pocket — for those who are privileged to want to address the needs of all.
But now is the time for us to do better. Now is the time we plan for a better or different system. Yes, plan for the most basic of basic plans where we reopen in the fall and plan for everything else. Every institution has the opportunity — nay, the responsibility — to reimagine what is possible. So let’s plan for that.
Masyn Moyer, Masynmoyer@gmail.com
I scheduled a dental cleaning for late May, confident that the Legislature would be adjourned and ski areas closed, thus no conflict.
I didn’t win the Arapahoe Basin lottery, but was reappointed to the Limited Gaming Commission on Wednesday and thus not at the Capitol for the third day of the resumed session and missed the shots fired at the George Floyd remembrance and unplanned closure of I-25 by protesters.
The Age of Enlightenment value of knowledge being universally “available” is how the medieval institution known as the university survives into the modern era, bolstered by the Puritan-cum-American concept of universally required education.
The contemporary dentist experience is likely to remain unchanged in this interim age as the differences — such as a forehead temperature scan — are noninvasive and should have probably been been happening anyway anywhere young people who don’t understand contagion gather such as institutions of compulsory or higher learning.
History says we won’t have a public health, economic and civil unrest crisis forever, so the question is not if, but what, will be useful education for the people who will survive it and define the age before the next one.
I won’t gamble affirmatively predicting outcomes, as in the best case scenario I’ll survive my wisdom or folly, but I can live with recognizing education designed for the working class of the industrial age — “enhanced” by trivia recognizable to the wealthy of the renaissance — is archaic, since that’s still true.
Education is not optional, but school is.
Schools provide a social education that should be valued higher and can be delivered in a setting that isn’t designed with the same aesthetic principles as a jail.
The lesson of our time is education is everywhere and for everyone, neither as a luxury nor obligation but virtue and pleasure.
Shawn Coleman, email@example.com
“Education is the great equalizer of the conditions of men,” so claimed Horace Mann, an American pioneer of public school education. In an equitable world this would be indisputably true.
In our world, that has been stained for four centuries by first the enslavement and then the containment and deprivation of opportunity for theoretically free African Americans who came here unwillingly and then treated criminally and still treated despicably, public education is one more cog in a system that claims to give educational opportunity to all but in actuality serves to widen the chasm between the mostly white “haves” and the mostly minority “have-nots.”
As I lived in my white bubble, I remember being shocked to learn that the GI Bill, that wonderful federal program that was supposed to provide free college education to our veterans after World War II, was administered by the states that routinely prohibited African Americans from receiving its benefits.
Going online meant going offline for so many kids when the schools closed this spring. There is no such thing as online learning if you don’t have a computer or you don’t have access to the internet and all the libraries and other sources are closed. As Doug Hamilton, my colleague on the Camera Editorial Advisory Board speculated, there may be a significant number of kids who have lost access to education during this pandemic who we will be unable to get back into the school system. This will be a tragedy for all of us.
If COVID-19 changes anything, it should change the way education is provided to our less-privileged students. We owe it to this new generation to get them all up to speed so they have the tools they need to find a place in this world. And it should be a place of opportunity and equity for all. We need to do whatever is necessary to realize the promise of Mann’s long-ago words.
Fern O’Brien, firstname.lastname@example.org