When you look at Patching Holes, it brings a visual to your mind of a hole. Then the word patching indicates this will be a temporary fix for this hole which will remain to exist.
I have been involved in education for over 25 years. I can testify we have been working on patching holes the entire time. When we meet to discuss the results of the test scores results reported each year, the same things come up in the discussions.
- More instructional Time
- Smaller class sizes
- Rigorous Curriculum
- Evidenced-based Instruction
- More Progress Monitoring
- Additional Supplemental Materials and Supports
- Deeper Professional Development
- Increased involvement with home and school
- Motivation and Engagment
Those are the basic go-to patching holes all school districts address. If I have missed any, please feel free to share it with us.
There have been new approaches, new curriculum materials, lots of professional development, and no improvements. Taking time to look deeper into these issues is what is needed as we now find ourselves leading out of a global pandemic with students who have lost two years of academic, self-awareness, social-awareness, and foundational skills.
What is the solution?
There is a process to follow in making the best decisions for those we serve. It cannot be one school, some schools, all schools, but schools, families, and communities working together to develop plans to support the entire child as we help them build up; it takes legislators to fund schools adequately across all states and locations equally. All areas must have high-quality connections and equipment to serve students.
We do not need to patch the holes in education; we must fix them today. Education is not a political game, and it has cost generations of quality education.
Everyone has two basic needs to have filled. They need to feel good and safe. Let’s begin with my Two Rules in helping all schools, homes and communities with feeling good and safe. What does that look like and sound like?
- The neighborhoods are clean, have proper lighting, and are free from dangers. (No homeless camps, Drugs, Violence). Safety Watch Groups are in place.
- Schools have safety plans with cooperating support from the local health departments, mental health services, hospitals, police, fire, and ambulance services. All of the community agencies have worked together to cover all aspects of safety for the schools. These have been established, but review, practice and talk with students about any questions or ideas they may have to improve safety.
- Homes are equipped with safety equipment (smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, fire extinguisher, safety plans and resources for weather conditions. Protocols for children to follow when home alone.
These are just a few of the points, to begin with, helping to bring action items to the table to start establishing safety. There is a great deal of work to do, but this is the beginning of not patching holes but establishing foundations.
Curriculum in education seems to be something people are talking about right now. However, we are not talking about the right points of curriculum. We need to puch asside all of these extra topics which is adding layers and layers of work to the teachers, not to mention taking time away from students who are two years on average behind in the foundational skills they need in order to become successful in their lives. Children are not reading at grade level and they are not at grade level for math. These are two critical points which must be addressed today. Look at the data. We have seen an overall decline for years. Even those who were at level or above, were not making the gains they should have been based on their skill sets. Can we refocus our efforts on helping students learn foundational skills?
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