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Learning in a Time of Crisis

Schools are a microcosm of society.

Seems incredibly ambiguous, right?

Seems really high level and super vague, right?

But, where’s the lie?

Right now, we are in the midst of a rather unique time. There was (and still is) a pandemic. Overt acts of harassment and racism are playing out, nationally, in real time in front of our very eyes. Our government, to varying degrees, has betrayed the very rights promised to its citizenry in the Declaration of Independence--the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These freedoms seem to be limited to an elite few. This recognition of privilege is reserved for folks that are non-black and brown.

This ideology has become equally pervasive in our schools.

This is a time that we should be challenging our thoughts about what it means to learn, what it means to experience education, and what it means to find balance when we readily recognize that it is seemingly impossible to do so. This is especially meaningful and necessary for students or color and historically excluded communities of students.

And yet, there is such staunch push back of education that recognizes the complex and chaotic history of marginalized communities, of those very folks who were forced to build the foundation of this society, of those who are fighting, not for more, but for equality.

Learning, right now, in a time of unprecedented crisis is proving to be a challenge not only for students, but the systems that govern education and leaders that are charged to maintain some sense of normalcy so that students can, in fact, learn. Because the students and families deserve that.

The disparities that exist in society, that are mirrored in our workplaces, as well as institutions of higher education, can generally be predicted by those we see trending in our P-12 schools/districts.

It cannot be denied that COVID-19 has further exacerbated the reality of race relations throughout this country. The emergence of the pandemic has forced us to think more purposefully about educational equity and plan more critically about what it means to address the reality of those unique needs for students.

Of course, diversity and equity in education isn’t new. It has indeed been a buzz word for at least the last decade. But, where we are right now -- it demands that we investigate the systems that perpetuate differences and further oppress students whether through policies, practices, and most importantly, mindsets so that we are positioned to challenge societal disparities and authentically revolutionize education--the new sustainable ed reform.

Han (2016) suggest:

Institutions that are committed to educating students

shouldn’t be solely committed to providing academic education, but also – and perhaps more importantly – social education.

Teachers and schools fill the gap in socialization...

There is no denying the convergence, the alignment of schools and society. There is no escaping the fact that schools are social laboratories. As educational practitioners, we have the key opportunity to shape the social world through the work that happens in schools/districts.

We are gatekeepers to the legacy of our nation. Do you accept the challenge?

Han, Mayathe. Schools as a Microcosm of Society: Bridging the Gap between Kin and Others. Retrieved from:

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