By Ettie Rutherford
While COVID-19 has left us with many uncertainties, it is safe to say that every adult is quite certain that the education of our children, is of utmost importance and worthy of scrutiny, regarding the manner, in which priorities are set in this ongoing battle.
Consequently, there can be no future for our children if everyone remains complacent about our children’s education.
Having been an educator in Jamaica, Alberta and Ontario, as a classroom teacher, Language Arts consultant, elementary school principal and anti-racist policy developer, I am deeply concerned about our children, especially since it seems to be the common notion, that they are being educated, as long as there is a choice of going to school or being taught at home.
This is the furthest thing from the truth, because of the following reasons:
- All teachers, who are in schools, should have been among the first to receive the vaccine.
- There should be a budget to provide ongoing professional development for teachers, since they were never trained to teach “online”.
- It is wrong to assume that all students have the necessary electronic devises, as well as human resources, to learn at home. When I was left as a single parent, I would have found it impossible to meet the electronic needs of my four children.
- There should be specific assistance for special needs students; ESL students; autistic students; those with mental health issues, which have increased; as well as Black students, who have always been subjected to racist challenges.
- Products, such as Dolch Word list, and other teaching tools, with instructions, should be provided for parents to use at home, especially for students, who fall under the umbrella of Early Childhood Education i.e. Kindergarten to Grade 3.
- There should be clarity as to how evaluation and assessment are being conducted among the previously mentioned groups, and how will parents be assured that there is a level playing-field in all areas.
- Parents need to be clear as to whether the emphasis is merely on instruction or is there enough thought being given to different levels of the curriculum, seeing that students are usually characterized as being bright, medium or slow?
- The Ministry of Education has been silent, regarding specific budgeting to meet the present needs, during this most challenging time for our students.
Children cannot speak for themselves, so everyone needs to be more vigilant, regarding the need for their tax-dollars to be used for advancing the best in teacher training and student programs.
Yours in partnership!
Award-winning Ettie Rutherford, B.Ed, Dip.Ed, M.Ed, is an educator, life coach, consultant and author of “Why Perch Like A Chick When You Can Soar Like An Eagle?”. An accomplished public speaker, Ettie is the Founder and CEO of Women Are Worthy, which provides step-by-step strategies for women to achieve their goals, with a minimum amount of stress. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org