During this time of catastrophic danger and disruption throughout our country and around the world, people of all walks of life are posing existential questions about the future even while hoping almost desperately for things to just return to normal. Perhaps it is human nature to yearn most intensely for order and the old status quo when those uncontrollable feelings of uncertainty and chaos are most pervasive. But with each passing day of this unprecedented crisis it becomes clearer that there will be no return or “reopening”. We are forever changed on so many different levels by this catastrophe. And it will be immensely important as we move from the rescue phase to recovery that we prepare for a new normal when the curve begins to flatten for the first time.
This will be especially true for education systems around the country. While the time will arrive to return to school, it will not be a return to the same. That’s because the crisis has exposed, amplified and exacerbated long standing, often hidden systemic flaws. In particular, as Michele Norris so eloquently described in her recent WaPo op-ed h “… The coronavirus is amplifying the bias already embedded in our social fabric…”. In education the savage disparities have been made manifest in all sorts of ways including food insecurity, lack of access to online learning, social emotional traumas, health care disparities, reduced funding and learning loss. Propelled by the necessities that this crisis has fueled, the time has arrived to prepare for a New Normal that redefines and redirects how teaching and learning is delivered in this country. In the coming days and weeks the EDGEucator will explore what this New Normal could look like. Stay tuned.