Last month, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Oklahoma shuttered its public schools for the rest of the academic year.
Suddenly, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and her State Department of Education team found themselves with a Herculean task: Help rapidly transition teachers, administrators, and 700,000-plus K-12 students and their families from traditional brick-and-mortar schools to virtual learning for the final weeks of the spring semester.
In this week’s Observercast – Episode 10: Public Education In a Pandemic – we were joined by Hofmeister, left, for a wide-ranging conversation about all things public ed, with special focus on the impact of COVID-19 on Oklahoma’s public education system and Oklahoma families.
If you think the need for universal access to the internet is widely accepted and understood, you’d be wrong. The areas of the state most impacted by Draconian budget cuts and social policies imposed by the state Legislature are, coincidentally, the communities with the least access to the internet.
In our conversation, Hofmeister pointed us to a larger truth when she stressed that every household needs access to the internet: In 2020, it’s not just the kids that need the internet for school. It’s a question of equity and civil rights for school children and adults alike.