Dr. Ed Moore: Get Used to Rapid Changes in Work, School, Life in General

We have moved permanently into a new workplace model, especially for those in occupations conducive to a separation of work from a specific environment. There are obvious costs and downsides to this. Companies will no longer require large offices and can shed attendant costs. The creativity that is stimulated by group interaction is reduced but not extinguished since online interaction tools keep improving.

Commuting costs are reduced or eliminated, allowing people to live further from the office. This change might lead to growth in rural communities and even more home farming. The list of social and cultural changes is long, but not much thought has been given to the effects on traditional educational options.

The COVID pandemic helped stimulate many families to consider going outside traditional options when it comes to educating their children. When schools across the country closed in the middle of the school year, families had to adjust to learning from home. Schools were forced to ensure online access and appropriate computer tools were available in all homes. Economic demographics created problems, as did the realization that not everyone lived in homes receiving internet services. Many rural communities faced considerable obstacles. Lately, we are seeing the expansion of 5G and increased last mile services, making both working from home and education services more common and accessible.

For more than a century, the three basic options have been public schools, the largest option, parochial schools and private schools.

Our calendar and our lifestyles have evolved to accommodate these traditional modalities. But now, our lifestyles are changing rapidly and the old agricultural school calendar is even less applicable than it has been. It has served no purpose for us since the WWII era since fewer families functioned under the demands of an agricultural calendar, including planting and harvesting seasons. We have kept this old calendar due to custom, comfort and other activities, which have grown, such as summer camps, summer jobs, kid’s sports teams, summer vacations and all the seasonal tourist activities.

But change is permanent—and it is exploding. I foresee an era where growing numbers of kids learn year-round from clustered course content modules. Their families will determine the breaks. Travel, vacations, part-time jobs for kids and many other areas of life will alter. We will also meet the demands of the teacher in every classroom crisis.

Florida, like most states, has created the crisis it currently faces in the classroom: too few teachers to meet our needs. Right now, Florida estimates there are around 9,000 fewer teachers than are needed to start this school year. This problem will cause parents to make choices they might have deferred. No surprise since we tend to put off harder choices when we can. It’s our nature. However, for most people, the needs of our children trump everything else. Just having a warm body with minimal skill sets in the front of your kid’s class might not set well. I plan to write more about this in the future.

We are going through some dramatic changes. They will happen faster than we expect and with many short-term collateral damages. These too will adjust or fade as life gets more interesting by the day.

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