The Rebirth of K-12 Public Education: Postpandemic Opportunities 

Episode Summary:

Hear from Kisha Daniels, Kristen Stephens, and Erica Phillips on their chapter of The Pandemic Divide titled “The Rebirth of K-12 Public Education: Postpandemic Opportunities.” This episode features the added dimension and voice of Sashir Moore-Sloane, social studies teacher at Githens Middle School in the Durham Public Schools district. The four educators discuss the challenges faced by educators and students during the pandemic. Offering the perspective of both teachers and parents, they talk about the need to be creative and engaging when teaching online, and the stress of trying to make sure all students are still learning. They also discuss the district’s response to the pandemic, including their efforts to make sure students had access to laptops and hot spots. The speakers discuss changing teaching methods and being more flexible with students. They emphasize the importance of being sensitive to what students are going through outside of school.

The conversation discuss the challenges that students of all ages faced when transitioning to online learning due to the pandemic. It is noted that while college students had some advantages, such as executive functioning skills, high school students did not have the same level of support. The conversation also touches on the importance of grace and understanding during this time.

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Teaching and Learning
  • The Transition to Online Learning
  • The Impact of the Pandemic on Students’ Social and Emotional Lives
  • The Importance of Mental Health Days in School
  • The challenges and successes of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Impact of the Digital Divide on Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Social Context: the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor

Resources Mentioned in this episode:

SASHIR MOORE-SLOAN is a middle school Social Studies teacher with fourteen years of experience. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in History at North Carolina Central University. She also earned her Academically/Intellectually Gifted (AIG) certification from Duke University.  Sashir is a New Jersey native with North Carolina roots.  She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Durham Association of Educators, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH), and United Women of Faith. She is committed to providing a great learning experience for our youth.

ERICA R. PHILLIPS is an educational equity and policy specialist at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity. She serves on the Educational Policy working group, focusing on K-12 students, and is a research associate for a federal grant studying the benefits and inequities of gifted programming. She has an MA in educational equity, policy, and reform from Duke University.

KISHA N. DANIELS is an assistant professor of the practice of education at Duke University. Her lengthy career in the teaching and schooling world has led her to research on teacher quality, collaborative teaching, and community engagement. Her most recent book is Creating Caring and Supportive Educational Environments for Meaningful Learning (2018). Dr. Daniels has a doctorate in education leadership, curriculum, and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

KRISTEN R. STEPHENS is the co-director of the Education Policy Working Group at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and an associate professor of the practice in the program of education at Duke University. Her research explores legal and policy issues with regard to gifted education at the federal, state, and local levels and how teachers assess creative student products to inform future instruction. Dr. Stephens has a PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi.