Gloria Panzera tries to unpack what the future of education may look like. In a system that is chronically underfunded and short on resources, can institutions withstand a prolonged pandemic? Panzera worries her fellow teachers may leave education and never come back.
Still, for many, enough is enough. In the next few weeks, teachers who have the means will leave the classroom. Many of the veteran teachers, who bring so much value to the profession because they are experts, will retire early.
Young people who are new to the workforce that were considering a career in education will think twice and likely take their degrees elsewhere—to a profession that isn’t requiring martyrdom. Teachers who are uncomfortable and afraid to have their children return to school, will resign and stay home to school their children. This profession will lose immense amounts of talent and passion. And friends, this loss will be permanent.
Once this pandemic is over, hopefully sooner rather than later, this talented and passionate group of educators will not return. The last phase of the dismantling of public education will be complete. Schools will be forced to hire people who are not well-trained and not called to be educators, expectations and requirements to enter education will continue to diminish, as will the quality of the people who enter the profession.
The turnover and expedited burnout of teachers will be one of the few consistencies in the industry. People who can afford it will put their children in private or charter schools, and, as is always the case, the students who need it most will be hit hardest by this destruction.
It is obviously impossible to predict the future, but we do know, from a quick study of history, that pandemics have a way of razing and changing aspects of society. I’m confident there will be innovations that come out of this time that will positively change our lives, but I’m not so confident education, especially primary and secondary education, will be so lucky.