Newsom Says Pandemic Could Provide Silver Lining For Education, Fast Track New Methods By Decades


Photo: Santi Vedrí


California Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday that there is one possible silver lining to come out of the awfulness that is the Coronavirus pandemic – a gleaming new education system.

Though at first teachers were thrown into the proverbial deep end by being forced to figure out ways to quickly continue teaching remotely, the community adapted rapidly. Now as a “normal” school year seems all but lost, since the reopening of anything seems far off in the distance, the current situation provides an interesting opportunity.

“We’re now at a stage where those conversations [about education] that have been siloed are now being made public in a way that I think will allow us to process very exciting and enlivening future of education. That will leap forward in years what otherwise would have taken decades had it not been for this crisis,” Newsom said.

He is referring to schools of thought that not only focus on creativity, but also individuality. A concern he says he shares with many teachers in the system today.

“[We want] to prepare for a future where [education] is more dynamic, more iterative, [and having] more frame of focus. Not just teaching to a test. Not just the ‘drill and kill’ model of the lecture. People then repeating, then writing down what it is they’re being told. But a framework that is dynamic around creative thinking, around the expression of creativity in self and in a broader consciousness of what education is really about. It’s not just about teaching to the test.”

Newsom has taken this current moment as an opportunity to close the digital gap that existed in the education system and fulfill an empty promise of giving all students the opportunity of digital and remote learning.

This effort was done to help the the 20% of Californians and 42% of families of color in California who do not have access to a computer or a stable internet connection. Google, in a partnership with the state, also promised 100,000 points of internet access for several months.

Though his immediate focus is bridging the digital-educational gap for rural and other disenfranchised communities, his long term vision seems to be one that rethinks the state’s education system as a whole.

 

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