On June 25th, I participated, along with a principal, a teacher, and a student. on what we have learned about virtual learning during the pandemic. The educators and student were exemplary, giving us a view of creative, dedicated, focus on delivering learning and connection. As I noted in my panel contributions, from our Parents for Public Schools of Hawai‘i survey of families, the crisis persists. We do not have the systems or training in place to engage enough of our students substantively and personally, to support their learning and emotional health. All panelists agreed on this. Click the image below to listen. — Deborah
The classroom connectivity gap is largely closed as shown in this 2019 report. The Hawai‘i Connectivity Snapshot (clickable image below) shows the status of Hawai‘i public school connectivity. Now, as virtual learning to homes is needed, we need to work on hot spots, connections from vendors, and devices for students at home to enable equitable virtual learning access.
Across the country district and school leaders and staff, teachers, families and students are suffering the sudden change to staying at home. One of the very painful realities is that this pandemic is limiting learning for students from less affluent families more, widening the already unacceptable equity gap. Families with less income are more likely not to have Internet connections, or to have weak connections. The student may have no computer or tablet for their study, or they may have a device that cannot handle the challenges of web conferencing, advanced software, or rich media. In some families many children share one device and cannot complete their work or meet at the times teachers give lessons online. Parents in those families are less likely to be able to guide the students with the technology or the academics. Meanwhile, IB, AP, Honors, and self-motivated students with Internet and devices may actually speed ahead of the rate of learning they would have achieved in the school building. We have much to do to address these challenges.
In Hawai‘i, the only district that covers the whole state, it is difficult to measure given the district’s effort to leave decisions and implementation to the schools and complex areas. Parents for Public Schools of Hawai‘i surveyed parents and received a wide variety of responses on accessible Internet and devices, and in the ways in which technology is being used to support students and families during this shelter-in-home time. Honolulu Civil Beat reported on the difficulty getting data on the district’s pandemic response comparing it to efforts in Miami, Los Angeles and other cities.
As Miami’s school buildings closed, the district rushed to provide 90,000 more devices and around 11,000 Wi-Fi hotspots. 91% of Miami Dade students have logged in for virtual lessons.
“We are bracing ourselves for an unprecedented, historic academic regression experienced by our most fragile population of students.” — Alberto Carvahlo, Superintendent, Miami Dade Schools
The Los Angeles, CA Unified School District is spending $95 million to deliver hot spots and laptops to students to address the digital divide. The impact of technology and training needs on the budget is staggering. Overall effect on the LAUSD budget is pictured below. Click here to get to the EdSource article providing that chart and information on other districts facing these challenges.
1 in 5 teachers in USA Today poll say they may not return to school in the fall!
Click the image above to read the article.
This pandemic gives public education a multi-dimensional wake-up call.
A major rethink, redesign, and massive implementation is needed.
How we can better use our network of real estate, buildings, administration, teachers and staff, learning content, and communication capabilities to support preK-12 and lifelong learning in today’s world?
> Schedule appropriate to the physical, emotional, economic needs of learners, relevant to our times.
> Respect teachers in status, compensation, working conditions, professional regard and authority.
> Enable authentic learning work rather than make work.
> Assess progress as learning work happens, rather than interrupting learning for “tests” that waste the time available for learning ,respect and elevate teachers.
> Implement innovations to make learning more personal, effective, engaging, and timely.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
Higher standards and better assessments that will prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace
Ambitious efforts to recruit, prepare, develop, and advance effective teachers and principals, especially in the classrooms where they are most needed
Smarter data systems to measure student growth and success, and help educators improve instruction
New attention and a national effort to turn around our lowest-achieving schools.
The first and third objectives are closely related and having them both make the top 4 list, amid hundreds of other critical objectives, is concerning. Measuring, measuring, measuring; we can fail to support and develop our youths core gifts.
I would like to see the objective:
Support teachers, advanced assessment, media, technology, content, and authentic learning experiences to individualize, deepen and maximize learning for each student.