Op-Ed Publication Date: October 4, 2020, Roanoke Times
In the past few weeks, school districts around the country have announced their plans for reopening and some have even begun to reopen amidst a raging pandemic. What has become immediately clear is that no one is satisfied with the plans. Teachers say they won’t come back without more protections, parents are considering pulling (or have pulled) their children due to safety concerns, political leaders are facing the heat, and possibly pushing for something even they personally can’t get behind. And as I see the storms raging and the fires brewing, what I continue coming back to is, can’t we all just get along?
As a former teacher, principal, school board member, current president of a national nonprofit education policy organization, and perhaps most importantly a parent, I sympathize with all sides. I understand what teachers, parents, school leaders, and elected officials are facing in making these decisions as I have worn (and in some cases continue to wear) many of those hats. And with that perspective, that is why I’d humbly ask that we all give each other the benefit of the doubt.