The COVID-19 pandemic might have a silver lining: real change to how we do school, says Glenn Kleiman, an education professor at North Carolina State University. After all, shutdowns already drove the reinvention of everything from attendance to submitting homework to small-group collaboration to school lunch.
On the other hand, “with people being exhausted and stressed, there is a natural tendency for all of us to [say], ‘Let’s go back to the old stuff we were comfortable with,’” says Kleiman.
On this episode of School’s In, Kleiman joins Stanford Graduate School of Education Dean Dan Schwartz and Senior Lecturer Denise Pope to discuss whether the pandemic can be an inflection point for U.S. education.
School has proven remarkably resistant to change, said Kleiman, who has worked on education technology since the days of the Apple II. The pandemic drove immense improvement in tech skills, and some families found they preferred virtual school, he said. Some districts plan to continue virtual academies. But others don’t know how they can afford both modalities or train enough teachers. Or they face political pressure to return to the norm.
“There’s that wonderful line about ‘Never waste a good crisis,’” Kleiman said. “And I hope we don’t end up wasting the COVID crisis in education.”
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