How are you navigating public education during a global pandemic?

Help Crosscut report the next season of our narrative podcast.

A teacher and student sit together wearing face masks

Teacher Lisa Tyler, right, wears a mask as she works with Gabriel Worthey, 10, on a math problem in a fourth grade classroom, Feb. 2, 2021, at Elk Ridge Elementary School in Buckley. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

We have now begun the third consecutive school year upended by the pandemic. At first, a lot of us thought, “Well, maybe it’ll just be a few weeks of school shutdowns. OK, a few months.”

You know the rest.

Here we are, September 2021 and we are still in limbo, with the delta variant raging and children younger than 12 still ineligible for a vaccine. Yet all Washington school districts are going back to the classroom in person, with mandated staff vaccinations, masks, distancing and other protocols designed to make the experience as safe as possible. 

All of this means that many teachers, parents and students are facing plenty of anxieties, joys, frustrations and fears over a return to some semblance of “normal,” with fresh new challenges and recent traumas still front of mind. 

For the third season of This Changes Everything, a Crosscut podcast about the events that are transforming society, we’re focusing on public education. We want to know what has changed or been revealed about our education system as a whole, now that we’ve endured one of the biggest school disruptions in decades. What lessons have we learned from this experience that we can now take with us and apply to this school year and the next? What creative innovations, born out of necessity or desperation, will stick with us? 

And what have we long known, but now see more clearly? What will we no longer tolerate?  

Over the past few months, for example, we’ve seen many teachers, parents and advocates emphasize publicly that even if things were to “go back to normal” this school year, that wouldn’t be good enough. “Normal” wasn’t equitable. “Normal” didn’t necessarily work for all students. 

Whatever your thoughts on all of this, we’d love to hear from you! We’re looking for K-12 parents, teachers and students interested in sharing their experiences over the past year and a half — and their fears and hopes for the future. 

If you have a story to tell and are interested in participating, please fill out this form at this link, or in the embed, below.



This story was first published in Crosscut's Weekly newsletter. Want to hear more from journalists like Sara Bernard and Venice Buhain? Sign up for the newsletter, below.

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