OP-ED: Inequities Necessitates Robust Investment in Education, Especially During COVID-19 Crisis

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By Christine Mulroney

FRAMINGHAM – Last November, we celebrated the passage of the Student Opportunity Act, a broadly supported landmark piece of legislation that made a $1.5 billion investment in public schools over the next seven years to better meet the needs of all students.

That seems like a lifetime ago. The coronavirus crisis has fundamentally altered the landscape for public education in just about every way.

But this much we know to be true: The problems that the Student Opportunity Act addressed still exist and are perhaps more pressing as school districts maneuver to deliver a quality education in the age of remote learning and social distancing.

Furthermore, the current crisis has exposed the breadth and depth of inequities in our education system that speak to the necessity for robust investment in the educational needs ─ from technology to nutrition ─ of
underserved populations.

Simultaneously, the resources must be available to provide the appropriate opportunities for students along the entire educational spectrum, which includes not only academic achievement but also social and emotional
well-being.

The Framingham Teachers Association remains hopeful that communities emerge from these dark times with even stronger public schools.

To achieve that, we must all work together to secure the federal funding that will be necessary to stabilize our state economy hard hit by the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

And our state leaders must properly allocate funding so that our public schools are fully supported.

Understanding what that support entails will require the input from a broad range of stakeholders. That is the only way to make sure that the myriad needs in our public education system are clearly understood by both decision makers and those affected by education policy. Now is the time to seize the opportunity to create a public education model that is transformational and progressive in its inclusivity.

As we move through a period of transitions toward a revamped model of public education, it is also important that authentic teaching be allowed to flourish and that rigid standardized testing be placed on hold, if not
outright dropped once and for all.

Educators want nothing more than for their students to succeed and thrive, but that process looks quite different from student to student.

We need a public education system that recognizes the unique needs of individual students and places more value on the relationships that spark
leaning than on tests that measure narrow skill sets.

Now more than ever is the time to create public schools that are academically strong, socially just and universally equitable.

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Christine Mulroney is the President f the Framingham Teachers Association

editor

email: editor@FraminghamSource.com call or text at 508-315-7176

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