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The new reality of unplanned online learning brought about by the COVID-19 school closures has caused a lot of concern, particularly within the education industry. Professional educators are worried about a number of things resulting from the new education dynamics, but are especially concerned about students falling behind.
The question is, how can a child be behind? Behind what, exactly? Does there not have to be some standard by which to measure this position or judgement? Would this not necessitate a presumed standard child? I must admit that in all my years of involvement in education, I have yet to meet this “standard” child.
Many years ago, an Alberta Education Minister addressing concerns parents were having regarding provincial achievement test results, said the tests were measuring how the curriculum was doing with the child, not how well the child was doing with the curriculum. He clearly indicated the focus of education was more a matter of creating a product than encouraging student learning, which brings us back to the issue of “falling behind”.
An article published in late January states that “Education advocates and international experts alike are highlighting pandemic-disrupted schooling and learning loss as longer-term concerns that will persist even after COVID-19 wanes.”
Education advocates? Are these student advocates or program advocates? International experts? Are there not competent domestic experts? And what in heaven’s name is learning loss?! I must admit, this is a new one for me.
I imagine it’s as if students are vessels into which we pour “stuff” called learning. Knowing students “leak” when the pouring is discontinued or interrupted, they lose what was poured in, right? Wow, this learning “stuff” must be really viscous to leak out like that! Hmm! Learning loss! Perhaps I’m confused!
Another shocking revelation! The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared that the COVID-19 pandemic school shutdowns are causing major disruptions in schooling. It took an international panel of advocates and experts to come up with that one? Which disruptions are they “concerned” about?
Could it be that sending children home to their parents is having a deleterious effect on programming? Is this the “learning loss” “education advocates and international experts” are concerned about? What could possibly be the international experts’ objectives or desires respecting the education of all the world’s children? I somehow suspect personal development, knowledge and independent critical thinking are not high on that list.
The following line in the article gives us a possible answer to the question. It stated that the global shift to remote learning is not serving everyone EQUALLY! Ah, equality for all! This is starting to make sense. If everyone is equal, they are all the same, and if they are all the same, like a flock of sheep, they are much easier to… herd or control.
The next statement indicated that too many students are dropping out of school. I could understand this concern if the article was making reference to learning specific skills, but not a whisper of that was made, only references to learning gaps and losses.
Aside from the possibility of an unhealthy home environment, why is there concern about students being disadvantaged by family background? Again, give this some thought. Could it be families will have undue influence in children’s lives if they are not sequestered in schools designed to make sure the children learn what they need to? And what would that include? Faith in God rather than government? Family first? Freedom? I don’t think so. More likely the unquestioning adherence to what the “advocates and experts” have to say and want people to believe.
Greater “investment” in education was advanced as the antidote to all this learning “leakage”, something every teachers’ union would applaud. Other things like: learning recovery; eliminating gaps; increased school programming to include summers; priority road maps; layers of protective health and safety measures; supporting teachers receiving more and better training; reimagining education systems; more resilient and adaptable schools; education as a human right; and vaccination campaigns, were offered by UNESCO as important in advancing learning and stopping the loss. Were you able to follow that?
While there was deep concern for students’ learning gaps and losses, not one mention was ever made about academic proficiency or the provision of opportunities for children to develop their individual gifts and talents. It was clear that children had to conform to the narrative delivered by the system rather than the system meeting the individual and diverse needs of children.
If this is how the world sees learning, we need a better solution, and that would be more parents educating their children at home to avoid all this nonsense. Home is still the best place for educating children, as they can learn without needing to worry about “gaps” or “losing” anything except perhaps the opportunity to be indoctrinated in accordance with the agendas of UNESCO’s “education advocates and international experts”.