To the Editor:
I was a little disappointed to see the recent subheadline, “Not every parent can keep the learning going” (“Will the Learning Gap Widen as Schools Stay Closed?”, April 1, 2020).
In the traditional academic sense, that’s true. But parents can keep the learning going in terms of career exploration, workplace literacy, and giving their students an unprecedented look at how crucial it is to adapt and be flexible in times of crisis. Schools have ostensibly been preparing students for the realities of adult life. One of those realities is work. And, while it may not be the rosiest of conversations, never have the realities of work been more in the conversational zeitgeist than they have been today. We’re doing our students a real disservice if we continue to focus on what can’t be done at home and not on the real-world lessons emerging all around them: Students are seeing what it’s like to make unplanned career pivots, juggle work and family life, and how to deal with the unexpected. I’m aware the situation isn’t ideal.
I’m aware of the inequities this pandemic is exposing. But I believe it’ll be more harmful in the long run to bemoan the ways students can’t learn from home than capitalize on the ways they can. The learning happening now may not be the traditional learning students are used to, but taking advantage is better than fretting. I’d love for you to focus less on what we can’t do and more on what we can.
A version of this article appeared in the April 29, 2020 edition of Education Week as Learning Is Still Happening at Home