Teachers across the country are being laid off. Cities and towns are scrambling to put together plans to reopen schools and school budgets are being slashed. If and when our kids do go back to school chances are they will not be receiving the education they were getting before Covid-19.
Many school districts have not only cut classroom teachers but they have cut entire programs such as reading and math enrichment, foreign language, art, music and sports. Speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, behavioral therapists, as well as guidance counselors, school psychologists, and secretarial staff are also being let go. When your child goes back to school, at a time when they most likely will need extra support, it’s not going to be there.
Understandably a school district can only do so much with the budget they have. We should be thankful that they are working effortlessly to get our children back into their classrooms and acknowledge the pressure they are under. However, as parents, as guardians, as a community, as a village, now is not the time to be complacent and accept what it is. When our children return to their classrooms they are going to need a lot of support. Support one single classroom teacher (as super human we’ve all come to realize they are) can not do alone. Our kids need familiar faces, artistic outlets, physical activities, and the individual services they need to be successful. School districts need to do some serious thinking out of the box and find a solution that will accommodate our children and our teachers.
We need to support all the needs of our children as well as our school staff in order to bring them back into the classrooms. We all understand that it takes a village to raise a child. Our children rely on so many people, especially their teachers in school, they have already have had so much taken away from them, they don’t need more.
This past week I attended a teachers union rally to protest the layoffs in our city. I stood in the crowd and was inspired. Inspiration however evaporates unless it is acted upon. Contact your city or town elected officials. Voice your concerns. Advocate for your child. Advocate for your child’s teachers that have been a continuous lifeline throughout the last three months. This isn’t just about bringing our children back to school. It’s about bringing them back to schools that are safe and staffed with enough support to allow them to succeed.