In March 2020, all of the educators I know suddenly began working extraordinarily hard in a context they had never lived through. Several million educators did, at every level from those who work with infants to doctoral education. Three years later, it is possible to see both the effort and the gaps. The argument building in the past few blog entries is about the larger patterns of institutional erosion, default repertoires, and the pandemic dramaturgy, and the way that schools can be both highly connected with the rest of society and also miss important aspects of coordination. That missing habit of coordination is a significant part of the gap between all of the effort at pandemic education, on the one hand, and the ways in which students and families (and educators!) were ill-served as a whole, on the other.
That missing habit showed in several ways: Internally, the missing habit of coordination required that school systems suddenly devote disproportionate attention on a high level of coordination for important infrastructure tasks, from providing meal services to hotspots. In doing so, the greater level of coordination moved focus away from the relationships at the heart of education to logistics, which should be driven by those relationships. This internal distraction from relationships had consequences for the attempted delivery of remote instruction and the guarantee of an appropriate education for students with disabilities and for emerging multilingual learners. In addition to the internal consequences, the missing habit of coordination created significant barriers to effective relationships with both families and the larger culture.Continue reading “Pandemic lessons 4: Coordination”