Travel, of course, has been very limited over the past year, so I’ve been making short trips to interesting local sites never visited to photograph. In October, we discovered Fort Washington National Park in Maryland south of the District, a beautiful place for a fall photowalk.
I’m really sick of people calling what’s happening right now “the new normal”, especially when it comes to schools. Nothing about the current efforts to cobble together an online replica of the classroom will replace the traditional face-to-face experience.
Since the beginning of this mess, I’ve been reading all kinds of predictions about how American education will change as a result of the reaction to COVID-19. Some speculate that school will be drastically altered as a result of this catastrophe.
Today is the last day of the academic year here in the overly-large school district. This has been a challenging semester – for teachers, students, parents – to say the least.
Now comes the inevitable analysis of how much students have missed in the chaos of an abrupt switch to online schooling. Research cited in a New York Times article says some students have fallen “months behind”. NPR comes to similar conclusions based on a large survey of parents.
Come September, the COVID-19 virus is likely to still be a public health problem, which, as I discussed in an earlier post, will make opening school for the new year a challenge.
According to Wired, at least one K12 district in Ohio believes they can address some virus-related issues using surveillance technology to continually track of where students are and who they come in contact with during the day.
Lots of discussion in my feeds last week about school surveillance. Most of it was concerning a New York Times article about a small district near Niagara Falls that recently switched on a facial recognition system in it’s eight schools.
While they are one of the first K12 districts in the US to adopt this technology, the writer notes that similar systems are already being used in many public spaces like airports and sports arenas. In addition, more than 600 “law enforcement agencies” have adopted facial recognition software from a company called Clearview AI in just the past year.
All in the name of “security” and public safety, of course.