From Bianca Vázquez Toness in The Boston Globe:
…several observers say in their single-minded emphasis on safety, the unions have missed an opportunity to lead the conversation on how kids will actually learn this fall — regardless of where. The unions are accused of using the crisis to advance their longstanding agenda against education reform: calling to suspend standardized testing, opposing the use of technology for learning, and not committing to enough time with students during the spring’s remote learning experiment….
…“Unions … need to put their best face forward and show the public that they can deliver high quality public education through this period,” said Paul Toner, senior director of national policy for Teach Plus, which runs leadership training programs for teachers, and former head of the MTA. Otherwise, Toner said, “they’re putting themselves in jeopardy.
That sounds like good advice! Actually, isn’t it good advice for the sector overall, very much including school districts? It’s not self-evident to me that the pod outbreak has to exacerbate inequity. Seems more likely to be a mixed bag depending how people approach it and a lot is flying under the pod banner right now. This work isn’t for amateurs, though, Just ask any effective teacher or serious homeschooler.
So, this seems like a great chance for the public schools to show what they can do – not by opening for live instruction in places where it’s not responsible. But rather by being really creative and making sure kids are being well-served in a variety of ways. Being agile with facilities and staff, using space in innovative ways, making sure students without online access are nonetheless being served. Right now that’s not happening in more places than Massachusetts and that seems like the real risk public education supporters should be focused on.