This post is for my educator friends. The following predictions are based off of my mentors in the field. I follow the higher education publications to bloggers like Scott Galloway’s (professor at NYU).
Future of Education. My thoughts in one place to reread later.
Prediction #1: Higher Education will collapse faster and rebuild to a few strong and will look different (in a good way).
The pandemic will expedite the change that was already happening in higher education. Higher education was already moving towards new models as their current model is obsolete in the world of online learning and the future job market. If anything this work will just happen faster. Prior to this pandemic, Forbes estimated that 50% of higher education institutions would close in the next decade, I think that will be only accelerated. Brands will survive and thrive. Harvard, Yale, etc. I think we will see more private/ public partnerships like a Google MIT degree that has a vocational push rather than liberal arts. In general, people will reject the idea of paying the current tuition prices and blended learning will probably start there and trickle down.
Higher education will have a chance to rethink what it can be. Stanford has been (in my opinion) leading this work. The colleges and institutions with large endowments will have the ability to pivot into a new beginning that recognizes the information age and its implications for the future of learning.
Prediction #2: Community will be the reason to choose a K-12 school
Education, for the most part, is open-sourced as it should be. Education is a right, not a privilege. Most educators produce their work for public consumption. And with this pandemic that reality is now clearer than ever as you watch your school pull from free resources that exist for free on the internet for everyone. Your teachers google doc is easy to pass along and this allows all educators to learn from one another at an expediated rate. This is a good thing! A “private” distant learning program does not have materials or access to any resources that an average public school. Without the facilities, the healthier lunch program, the afterschool programming, the security, a private school is left with the same tools as a public school, TEACHERS.
But don’t underestimate that.
Teachers are the MOST important. This pandemic does teach us that COMMUNITY is the number one purpose of schools. And that online and in-person education is only as good as the connection students have to it and that comes from teachers. Faculty will be prized. Faculty of a school will make the difference as to what is the “best school” during this time as every distant school with the exception of those who have a real online product (example: Avenues Online, grades 6-12) will look alike. There are just only so many ways to skin a cat. There are just only so many ways to distance teach addition. The difference between the videos we are seeing will be the person on the other end.
Looking at the history of past pandemics, those in NEEDED roles did see their salaries increase in the following years after the pandemic. This could include teachers beyond our healthcare workers, etc. That would be an amazing bi-product as teachers are severely underpaid. Many have to leave the vocation because of the lack of pay. We have a severe teacher shortage in the US. We could see a resurgence in education graduates who have dwindled as the return on investment is so poor.
There are other people that will matter too, the parent community. This will play a larger and larger role in school decisions in the “new normal” as people will be the differentiating factor.
I think the larger schools are at a real disadvantage. People will want smaller. For so many reasons.
I also think for-profit brick and mortar schools will especially suffer as parents there don’t have a rallying cry like non-profit schools. Parents will be angry that they are paying 60K for a google doc when they assume there is a profit at their expense. I question…if there is even a profit. Making money in private K-12 education is the EXCEPTION not the NORM by any means. This pandemic could force them to go out of business.
Prediction #3: Parents will play a larger role in their child’s education
Not sure how I feel about this. But the reality that after spending this much time being involved in your child’s learning, you will not go back to “outsourcing” that fast. For some of you, this will be wonderful. Parent involvement is a beautiful thing. You may start supplementing with home projects of inquiry. You will read more to them.
OR this could go so terribly wrong. If schools reopen you won’t shut and children will be “learning” 24/7. You will start to question your child’s teacher (maybe in good ways), but when math comes home and you know on a personal level now that your child is past all of those levels, you will become angry, annoyed, frustrated, etc. You will become more of a foe than friend to schools who unlike you at this moment don’t have just two-three children to teach, but dozens.
Prediction #4: Mindfulness will play a larger role
This is less of a prediction than more of a push and hopefully, us adults who need this too can join!