Every day I’m more and more grateful that I don’t have school age children anymore. It’s a constant topic on the news these days. Will you send your kid back to school? What will it look like if you decide to let your child continue their distance learning? Should parents be held accountable for teaching their kids? What happens to teachers?
So I’ve been thinking that maybe Public School Television should/ could be a thing.
I really think it could solve a lot of problems. Here in Tennessee, or at least in the county that I live in, you have to pick if you want to keep your child home or send them to school. It doesn’t matter which one you pick, but whichever you choose, that’s your final answer and you can’t change your mind mid semester or mid school year. And then there is the problem of technology and internet should a person decide to keep their kid from the classroom. If the school gives the child a laptop but there is no internet, that’s a problem. If the school cannot afford to give out technology and/or there is no internet, that becomes a problem. A problem that will likely only affect children who are already disadvantaged in one way or another. Computers are a couple hundred bucks minimum. Internet is $20 a month minimum (if you are lucky). Antennae for a television is about $10 one time.
So from a budgetary and state standard standpoint, why not create public school television? It’s easily accessible. It’s free. No cable needed.
Every state has their own standard of base knowledge to be taught at any given time (hence standardized testing). What if they used public television to teach those elements? Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking 12ish channels- one for each grade. Or even just 6 channels… elementary first 4 hours, middle & high 2nd 4 hours. Daily lessons could be recorded and played on the public channel and then put on repeat for the day. So students of each grade could essentially turn on the television and watch their lesson at any time. They could replay the whole week on Saturday and Sundays for review. And then, the lessons could be uploaded onto YouTube so they could be rewatched as often as needed on a computer or cell phone.
With all the counties in all the states, there would be plenty of teachers available to record the videos and send them to the public television station. I mean, think of all the teachers that have won teacher of the year. They got that title for a reason, they could show off their skills statewide!
At the local level, teachers could still be responsible for a certain number of specific students (their class) that they could call on the telephone or “Zoom” with daily to check progress and answer questions. As far as testing and homework goes, they could have a “drop box” at their school for homework and testing. If the school has the technology, they can test that way, if they don’t, old school pen and paper will work and the teacher will still have “students” to teach and check up on. I feel like it is kind of a win win situation.
Plus, with the pandemic going in the direction it seems to be going, I’m worried about the kids whose parents decided they needed to go to school and then 4 weeks into the school year, they have to shut it down because 200 kids are sick. And what a sad day, when you have to explain to your second grader why her favorite teacher is dead because she got sick teaching a bunch of 8 year olds.
With Public School television, students wouldn’t be missing out on work, should they get COVID-19 and they wouldn’t have to worry about not understanding the work sent to them. Teachers could still focus on their students without having to worry about taking out a living will and a life insurance policy just in case this is the year they die at 45.
Sure, I’m over simplifying it, but I do think with a little bit of thought, it could totally work.
I think that the idea of schools opening in a few weeks is just wishful thinking at this point. Kind of like thinking there is going to be a football season. And I think there should definitely be a back up plan if that doesn’t work since we know there was no back up plan when all this started. So why not Public School Television? Just a thought.