WMWP: After Collecting Our Breath

WMWP Editorial May2020

I facilitated the writing of a collaborative editorial by our Western Massachusetts Writing Project in our regional newspaper, using our organizational presence to urge school officials and policy makers to notice the poverty, digital access and learning issues made visible by the Pandemic’s impact on our schools.

“At some point, school communities will catch their collective breath.” — the editorial begins

We urge leaders to:

  • Notice and make note of the inequities they were seeing now in the time of crisis, so as to address them more structurally later
  • To work to advocate for more equity of digital access, particularly for our rural communities, where reliable Internet is still not the norm, and our urban centers, where families are often struggling to make ends meet
  • Formulate professional development goals to help educators navigate the next wave of Pandemic, so we are not all scrambling as we are now
  • Help teachers be thoughtful in the technology platforms being used with young people, and not trade ease of use for student privacy

And more.

We aligned the themes of the editorial to the tenets of our WMWP Mission Statement, around access and equity and social justice, as well as teachers teaching teachers (and I guess, teachers as writers, too).

The local newspaper — Daily Hampshire Gazette — ran it as the lead piece on its Opinion Page, and it generated some buzz in local education circles. We hope it has some value in the times ahead of us, to use the time of disruption to enact positive change in the lives of our students and the state of our schools.

Peace (writing it),

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