By Jodi Redmond
The rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted public life in more ways than any of us imagined. As the whole world adapts to this new and challenging reality, parents of school-aged children – myself included – face a unique set ofdifficult adjustments that couldcripple us even further.
Moreover, adding to thesignificant economic pressuresmany of us are encountering now, we are left with the care for our children 24/7 – managing not only their daily activities, but their education as well. As I sit here in quarantine with my school- aged daughter, I cannot help but ask myself how the technology capital of the world is sitting idly by.
Where are Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft? Where are the big 501(c)(3)s? These organizations must step up to help parents of young children shoulder this enormous burden.
We have been given packets and digital assignments of work to teach our children at home. Over half of the parents here in the San Fernando Valley are now stuck without income due to the stringent social distancing requirements imposed by state and federal government, and speak only rudimentary English. Many of them are single, and struggling immensely to teach their children while managing all other aspects of keeping their lives and households in order amidst this crisis. How are they to ensure their children keep up with their lesson plans? The challenges are even greater for parents of children with special needs, who do not have the requisite training to educate their children effectively.
Here’s what I propose: These tech giants band together and provide home-school desks for every household that needs them. This desk will include a computer, printer, modem and internet connection. Every school has a desk for every student. Why shouldn’t every home have a desk for every home-schooled student?
I have sent open letters to Google and Apple and even to Steve Ballmer of the Clippers to prod them into providing the home school desks. As yet, no answer. But this is the answer now and for in the future.
These companies are relying on young people today to utilize their social networks, but which of these companies is ready to take care of these very young people they rely upon?Given their reach and influence onsociety, it’s incumbent upon them – they all know – to step in and be a part of the solution. It is their responsibility. We need to band together, to use social platforms to articulate our needs and help these companies generate good solutions.
As we all continue to grapple with the throes of this global pandemic and the challenges it presents every day, we ought to show a lot more empathy for those who are not equipped to ride the waves. Homeschooling might be fun and exciting for some, but it represents an insurmountable obstacle to others. The spread of this disease should make it clearer than ever that we are all human, and all susceptible to the same calamities—whether medical or mental and emotional. Instead of sharing shiny images of our new normal, we should try to focus our energies on sharing, developing and executing ideas that can help us all cope with this enormous challenge. After all, if there’s one thing all of our children ought to learn now more than ever: how to come together as a community. This is a seminal moment in their generation. This is their chance.
Jodi Redmond is the Founder and Education Director of Aureus Prep, an educational, college consulting and tutoringfirm. For more information visitaureusprep.com.