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Friday I tweeted about how it is time to honestly assess what virtual education looks like during the pandemic and how little instruction is occurring. Let me start by saying, if it came off as teacher bashing, I apologize.
I understand we are all struggling, trying to adapt to working from home, working online, managing our own families. I have tweeted several times about how I hope this pandemic has given parents a new understanding of what teachers do.
With that said, I am a journalist who writes about education inequality, and accountability for our most vulnerable students does not stop because we are in a pandemic.
Accountability is extremely important because what students get or don't right now, and how school systems treat this period, will have long standing ramifications for our most vulnerable students.
So, let me state here that I should have been more clear in that when I was commenting that I was not just addressing teachers alone, but also systems administrators and state leadership.
When I said there is no excuse for why teachers are offering no virtual instruction two months in, I meant no excuse for all parties. In the @IBWellsSociety training I did, I told reporters they should be asking district officials what mandates/directives they've given teachers..
What training and technical resources. I said reporters should be asking state officials, constitutionally charged with ensuring equal access to education, what mandates and supports they have given districts.
I said that since online education, because of student access and a host of reasons, cannot replicated school, reporters need to be asking district and state officials what is the plan to address/redress the loss of instruction and the slippage when schools reopen.
I understand many teachers are responding to dictates on what they can & cannot do. These dictates have largely not been communicated to parents who have no idea what schools are supposed provide and are dismayed but how much it seems to very from classrm to classrm, schl to schl
However, none of these questions were clear in my tweet thread, and again, I apologize for that. Twitter is not always the best form often for fully fleshed out arguments.
With that said, I am a journalist and I will no more act as if teachers are above criticism because of the profession they chose than I would police because of the profession they chose.
There are millions of amazing teachers. But I've spent enough time in schools to know there are plenty of teachers not serving our children well.
I've also done some reporting and understand that some unions are saying their contracts do not require teachers to provide virtual instruction and so principals cannot make teachers who don't want to do so.
I have talked to so many parents who are empathetic to the plight of teachers but also terrified about what is happening to their children's education and the consequences their children will bear.
Two months into this, we must assess. We must have accountability at all levels, from teachers to the US Department of Education. Our children deserve and need that. And for that, I will not apologize.
For those of you, in true Twitter fashion, determined to make this about something it is not. My point here is that many people said I should not critique what is happening because teaching is an act of public service. This is the same argument people make about critiquing police
Working in public service does not put one above reproach. Anyone who has followed me on here or my work would not believe I was saying teachers are like cops. But this is Twitter and it pays to perform. So, believe what you want.
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