Reboot education for the long haul
Re “Walsh: Boston students will not return to the classroom full-time this fall” (bostonglobe.com, July 31). COVID-19 isn’t disappearing. There won’t be a cure or vaccine soon. Contagion spikes and other pandemics will occur. Ten extra days, hybrid models, or “prepare for emergency closure” plans won’t work. This isn’t an emergency anymore, it’s a long-term reality. We don’t need to jury-rig the already limping system; we need to build a different system. Redistribute the agricultural 180-day calendar with more frequent seasonal breaks. Reduce class sizes for more learning in less time. Organize students by current ability in often-assessed, flexibly regrouped, multi-year age bands, like a karate or dance class, and provide immediate support to students who don’t successfully progress through the modules. Reconfigure —special education. Are kids getting what they need with the current model? Create a system that respects child development, mental health, cultural fluency, and education theory in a way that our system desperately grasps at but doesn’t come close to achieving. Let families and teachers weigh in on solutions, not the in-person/online, hybrid that we have now.
Kerri Ann Connelly
The writer is a Boston Public Schools teacher.