Every child deserves high expectations and an excellent education that meets their needs.
We have been debating for decades how to create public schools that are excellent, equitable, and serve all of our kids in innovative, diverse learning environments. This pandemic has laid bare some of the inadequacies of our system. But we have an opportunity to transform our schools. And to think big about how to serve the unique needs of each child.
We must transform rather than tinker by and invest in innovation and equity that excites residents about public schools. We must reimagine through big ideas like high schools without walls, that would untether students from particular assignments to specific buildings to open up new opportunities for learning. We must consider how kids can virtually join classrooms for courses that they are interested in and look at repurposing vacant storefronts and buildings to provide much needed space for learning–while simultaneously supporting business owners and communities.
A transformed school system must tackle the structural inequality in our schools—inequality that cheats our students of color, low income students, students with learning differences and those experiencing housing insecurity. And we must provide universal broadband to allow all students and families to stay connected and thrive in this age of technology.
Because of the pandemic, we now have the opportunity to rethink how our education system works—including how we allocate resources. We should consider our class sizes, especially ways to reduce them. And we should consider how to support our teachers in ways that better empower them to do the kind of meaningful teaching that first called them to the profession. And we also must consider ways to expand our investments in nurturing the unique talents and gifts of low-income students and develop new models for how to run effective individualized education programs.