In the past few days, I have received countless correspondence from every online vendor I have ever purchased anything from—the gym, doctor’s office, restaurants, stores. Each one of them taking the time to tell me, their customer, what their plan is for safety and the closures associated with the coronavirus. Each message explained when they will be closing and supports they will have available to the community and offered reassurance that we are all in this together.
This is not something I ever expected from those businesses, but I do expect this from my government and, more specifically, the U.S. Department of Education.
Please correct me if I am wrong—because this is a time I want to be wrong. But where is the U.S. Department of Education and the Secretary of Education during all of this?
Has Secretary DeVos made a statement to the public that I missed? I do not expect the Department of Education to have all of the answers or even a solution—I just want them to say something.
We are experiencing unprecedented school (public, private, charter, college and university) closings. As of March 17th, 38 states have decided to close public schools. Almost every state has at least one school district impacted by this, or like mine, every school district in the state is closed. Schools in Kansas will remain closed for the rest of the school year, and there is some indication that several other states will soon follow.
Despite this, we have heard little from the U.S. Department of Education. Sure, they have posted some high-level resources on their website, and there have been press releases. But what you may not know is that the Senate Democrats had to demand a coronavirus plan from Secretary DeVos to get even this much.
Where is Secretary DeVos when we need her most? She offered no official statement, message, press briefing or even a tweet reassuring the American public that the U.S Department of Education is working to support U.S. schools—until late last week after the U.S. Senate put on the pressure.
Did I miss a link with resources for families and schools to help them support children at home academically? Is there guidance for seniors hoping to graduate in a few months?
Regardless, on the first and most certainly not the last day of the quarantine in Maryland, teachers, administrators and schools were busy doing everything they could for their students and communities.
- Many showed up to work on Monday and learned how to become a virtual school overnight.
- Countless education companies and teacher entrepreneurs were sharing resources openly and without cost.
- Educators were sharing on social media ways to help overwhelmed parents as best they can from afar.
Most importantly, those in education are doing what they always do and will always continue to do: No matter what happens, they will be there for their students and their families. I wish I could say the same about Secretary DeVos.
Educators will always shoulder what is troubling the nation, especially for the students in their schools. This burden might not weigh as heavily on them if they had the support of the U.S. Secretary of Education.
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