The past several weeks have shown us a lot about our public education system. It has shown us that while we weren’t ready with a nation-wide disaster plan, we were able to flex, morph, compromise and regroup to ensure our students had opportunities to continue to learn. As we plan our return to the classroom in the Fall, I hope to see a new and improved focus on teaching students the value, importance and components of self-sufficiency and responsibility.
Jobless claims have soared to 38.6 million in 9 weeks. The government threw $669 billion at small business, but now realizes even this amount can’t keep mom and pop operations solvent much longer. One economist estimates that nearly half the recent layoffs will result in the permanent loss of a job. Food bank lines, in many states, are days long and the result of the wait doesn’t guarantee you any actual food. States are on the struggle bus with unemployment claims that are breaking the internet and rendering the phone lines useless. I bring you this gulp of sunshine courtesy of the NY Times. What do you do when there doesn’t seem to be anything to do? For many, the first order of business is simple. Food = money = gainful employment = finding a job. This job search, however, will be different than any you’ve ever embarked on. If you’re searching feverishly, let me help. Why? It’s one thing I can actually do. I spent 15 years as an HR Manager/ employee procurement specialist/national trainer for a staffing company. I participated in counseling events to aid people looking for post 9/11 jobs, post Katrina jobs, and post-recession positions. We can do this. But, in order to find our beginning, we have to see where we came from.
There is a formula to life, much like this column, much like a Hallmark Christmas movie. For the movies, it’s simple: girl meets boy, girl and boy are about to express their undying love, random misunderstanding occurs – usually at the hands of the ex who never got the memo, girl and boy flee to opposite corners of the world yet accidentally bump into each other where they first met, everyone understands the error of their ways with lots of kissing and a sunset. See? Same with you and me every week. I tell you about something icky. We laugh. Life morphs around us and things work out just as we knew they would. Sound too saccharine? I understand. It’s just that there is so much horror and disgust organically in this world, I want this space to be love and light and happy endings. Except, it isn’t always like that. I thought I would get real with you today. Well, real-lite, kind of like Coke vs Diet Coke. Here’s a tale about a time things went awfully wrong. No Kleenex alert. You’ll be fine.
A few days ago, I had the good fortune, (Divine intervention), to run into a former student and his family. He is a young man with severe behavior problems and has difficulty in the school setting. When I met him, he was in fifth grade, he could barely read or write and was at least three grade levels behind academically. Now, he’s about 20 pounds heavier, a few inches taller, about five grade levels behind academically and still cannot read or write very well.
Public schools have demonstrated an impressive ability to move and flex with the most trying times. The abrupt end of the school year and transition from the classroom to online learning has had its snags and hiccups, but the reports I’m hearing are increasingly positive as it relates to smooth instruction and student satisfaction. Student “attendance” is spotty and many students don’t attend their online class tim. However, those who do seem to like, or at least not mind, connecting with their teachers virtually.