The US education system has been deeply flawed for a long time, but the COVID pandemic of 2020 brought a new sense of awareness to many engrained issues, as well as a mandate for changes as we were all driven inside our homes at the height of the pandemic.
Even though the heaviest quarantines only lasted a short time in the scheme of things, the pandemic, it’s waves across the US, and its variants and subsequent recontaminations, all led to a long bout of unpredictability when it came to whether or not our children would be able to go to a physical location to attend school on any given day.
Now, in the third month of the third year of the ongoing pandemic, much of the threat is gone, but the changes we experienced, going from a traditional learning environment to remote, might actually need to stick around. In fact, 60% of Americans believe that the traditional methods of educating our children are simply not serving them well at all.
Sadly, there are a number of dismal statistics surrounding our education system. For instance, every year, over 6 million students are considered “chronically absent.” College freshmen only remember 40% of the information they studied for prep exams; 86% of high school students believe everyone cheats one time or another; only 19% of Americans under age 45 could pass a citizenship exam; and teens are now 5x more likely to suffer from mental illness.
Since we experienced the necessary shift to home learning, 57% of students now would prefer to keep learning remotely and only 19% would prefer to be back in the schoolhouse. Many families are also finding that remote learning is preferable. They’re enjoying the more flexible schedule, a safer environment, less bullying, and more family involvement.
Since the switch to remote was so sudden, teachers, schools, and students alike were underprepared for the changes, and there were certainly many bumps in the road. However, with the advantage of careful, professional planning and implementation, remote learning can actually have a hugely positive impact for all involved.
Currently, the most important skills for the workforce are things such as analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, and creative originality and initiative. All of these skills are shown to be gained better through a positive and well tailored online learning experience. In fact, overall, remote students have shown to have improved memory, better performance, greater flexibility, and are less likely to suffer from bullying.
It’s clear that we’ve needed education reform, and COVID just highlighted some of our greatest flaws, but it’s possible that it also introduced us to one of the most effective ways for our children to get the educational experiences they deserve.