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  • Beth Hankoff

Why so negative?

Updated: Aug 22

While I agree that the shelter in place orders have been difficult for most everyone, why do education writers need to make it worse with all of their doomsday predictions? Here are just a few examples*:


Schools Face Nightmare Scenario (US News and World Report)

Lauren Camera May 1, 2020


Will the Coronavirus Forever Alter the College Experience? (NY Times)

May 19, 2020 By JON MARCUS


Less Learning Time Drives Fears of Academic Erosion (EDWeek)

By Catherine Gewertz May 28, 2020


What's more, the headlines rarely hold up if you read just a few sentences into the article. For example, in the second article, they answer their own question right in the subtitle, which states, "The answer so far appears to be no. But some online education tools are likely to stick around." I feel a little betrayed by that headline. I wanted to hear about how colleges were changed forever! Then there is the third article, which laments the lack of learning time in it's headline, but when you click in and read, is actually about instructional time. Many unschoolers and independent learners will tell you it doesn't take a lot of instruction to achieve a whole lot of learning. Even in the traditional classroom, instruction is the first 10-15 minutes of a 60-minute lesson. The rest of the time the students should be working together and independently on projects and tasks to see if they can learn to do or apply what was just taught. Finally, our "Nightmare Scenario" headline. It sounds so awful, oh what will we do?! The nightmare is budget cuts. That's right. Cover your eyes everyone!

I know there are stories of families who need help getting the educational support their kids need. Those are the things we should be concerned about. We should be putting articles in the newspaper asking for donations for districts who don't have enough Chromebooks for their students, or need a big hall where high school kids can come and learn with social distancing. That is some alarming news that is real, but we could be doing something about it. Instead, people are writing these articles just to scare people - or for what reason I have no idea.


Think back on your elementary school education. If you were out for a few months because you broke your leg - or switched schools a lot - did you fall so far behind that you could never get caught up? Unless we're talking about high school credits, and I'm always talking elementary because that's what I teach, the curriculum always goes through a review at the beginning of the year and at the beginning of each new unit. That's usually enough to get kids up to speed, even if their previous school never covered that topic the year before.


In other words, things have a way of working themselves out. Keep wearing your masks. Stay 6' apart. Everything will be fine.




I forgot to note when I originally wrote this, that I did not spend ANY time researching for the best headlines to feature. I simply hopped over to a new window, typed in something like "coronavirus, education," and looked at the first few results that were on the topic I was looking for. That tells you something right there, doesn't it?





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