Published July 28, 2020
By Kymberly Daniels, M.Ed., NTCC Education Task Force Chair
In the words of Civil Rights Activist and Congressman John Lewis, “We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.”
These words offer an important perspective on how families must become allies in their children’s education.
COVID-19 has impacted the lives of black and brown people ravaging through the most vulnerable communities. This novel virus will change the course of society for many years to come. The pathway to education is not exempt and will forever be changed because of it. To address the inevitable- preparation is key!
In our generation we are experiencing the greatest pandemic disruption and its impact on education disparities. The traditional education system is at a halt and is forced to explore other options in educating children. These learning options such as in-person, a mix of in-person and distance, and distance-only demand that families are actively involved and accountable to support their children’s success. This engagement may be overwhelming, but necessary!
As I reflect on my years of parenting, I often heard, “You are your child’s first teacher.” This encouraging statement does not ask are you qualified to teach; however, its intent is to hold parents’ accountable. In my personal experience, I recall feelings of insecurity and challenges as a student that emerged in working with my children. Thankfully, I allowed myself to change focus and experience teachable moments that extended formalized education. As a parent and advocate, I share five ways to being an ally.
In closing, education occupies all spaces. Yes, it can be challenging and consuming, but it is also liberating, exploring avenues of learning for genuine connections from home to school. As parents, grandparents, family members, childcare providers, and others who serve children, we must view education in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, the chosen time to take an active role in children’s education as their first teacher, an ally in their learning.