The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed how families and educators look at education. This historic moment gave parents an up-close look at their students in the classroom through the challenges of virtual learning. Teachers had to quickly grapple with a whole new way of engaging with their students.
The lessons learned from the pandemic, combined with the new federal funding, enable us to leap ahead in providing an improved education to Rhode Islanders. For example, the federal funding provided to address post-pandemic learning gives us the opportunity to increase support to school districts across the state to extend the school day. To be successful in this effort requires working cooperatively with unions, school administration, after-school programs, transportation providers and communities to ensure that the public school system isn’t overly burdened, and all involved have a voice at the table.
By transforming education we come back to our state’s motto: Hope. Hope for connecting with each other across communities. Hope that we can learn from the hard truths of our past. Hope that we can learn in a variety of ways – through technology, arts, sports. And, yes, hope for economic security. In these times, we need our schools and educational institutions to receive the support needed to answer the call to provide us all hope.