The "Coronavirus Slide" in Education

The Philippines is now currently contemplating what to do as schools in that country are scheduled to begin this coming June. In our county, the school district has just embarked on a distance learning plan with mailing costs expected to be around 4 million dollars. This estimate apparently includes only K-8 students. With the corona virus resulting in a decrease in air pollution, cutting down trees for these learning packets seems doing the exact opposite. While educators worry about the loss in learning time, one thing is certain with the economy badly hurt in this pandemic. Budgets are going to be cut. There is certainly less spending and therefore resources in the next school year. Socioeconomic gaps in learning will rise as not every child can access distance learning. The question remains as in any policy: Are we making things worse?

EdWeek research center conducted a survey of school district leaders across the United States back in March. Superintendents were asked what they were planning to do with regard to the anticipated learning loss due to the coronavirus pandemic. The results were as follows:

Above copied from EdWeek

One in five said they were not planning to make up any lost instructional time while almost half had not yet decided. About a third were doing online instruction.

There are plenty of lessons to learn during this time. Our children are not really losing that much learning because there is really so much to digest out there in the real world. The pandemic brought misery and hardship but it also came with new challenges. These are actually times when children can learn so much more. We are living in a very rare event in human history. The important lessons out there are those of compassion, patience and resilience. Of course, there is also hygiene. The world is a classroom, not just for children, but also for adults. We must take the lessons that are now provided to each and every one. No learning packets can substitute for the opportunity to see what really matters, what is really important. Yes, there maybe a huge learning loss in understanding what fractions mean, but with sharing we can learn how we can give a part of ourselves. There are no lessons on making measurements but for now, we are learning how much of a distance is 6 feet. As adults, we should now see why health care should not be tied to employment. As adults, we should now realize the consequences of an election. As adults, we should now learn what true leadership is. These are important lessons we and our children are given at this moment. There is tomorrow but let us not waste what today actually brings.