BIG IMPACTS NEEDED STRONG LEADERSHIP
There has simply never been anything like it. The combination of a pandemic with the relatively
recent application of technology to education allowed virtually every school in the county to
close on as little as a few days’ notice and school administrators to assume new roles as leaders
and managers of the world’s largest online learning systems.
To better understand precisely how this shift took place, we have interviewed Superintendents from a variety of school districts and have summarized important aspects of their stories. Since the March 2020 closing of virtually every school in the U.S.in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the analogy to D-Day has been repeated many times. After all, both were events of enormous scale carried out in the shadow of risk to life, and were regarded as world changing. There is no minimizing the importance of D-Day: it represented a shift in the tide of World War II that led to a redrawing of the world map. But comparing these two events bypasses a few important characteristics of the educational system’s move to online education in March. The D-Day invasion was the largest seaborne invasion in history, but it was the culmination of two years of planning, was preceded by weeks of an air-war in strategic areas, and was managed by leadership that was highly experienced at logistics and battle planning.
Education’s response to COVID-19 was accomplished with as little as two-days notice, often with little planning, by people who had never done anything like it before. Examining how this change from in-person classroom teaching to online home-based education is a lesson in how people rise to the occasion, even while under great pressure, and with little supplemental support when the focus on the singular mission becomes all-consuming. Without a doubt, this transition will be the focus of studies for years to come. Nonetheless, the purpose of this article is to explore what conclusions we can reach even in this early stage. Read more….