By Starla Weidinger
The shutdown of schools in America because of the pandemic coronavirus crisis is adversity that we have never experienced before.
However, it’s not the first event in American history to disrupt longterm school attendance. The Great Depression, back in 1929, an economic crisis, forced schools to close for years. It affected 20,000 schools and 10 million students. Our college, LACC originally opened its doors to students just weeks before the Great Depression. This depression and the problems created for schools and education far exceeded the expected length and scope of the current school shutdown.
Furthermore, the current shutdown affects classroom instruction only, not the entire education process. During the great depression, school closings nearly shut down the entire educational process.
In 2020, we have alternative re-sources through computers, internet, and video—the technology of course that did not exist in the 1930s. Despite this obstacle, many students persevered. Lyndon Johnson, a college student during the Great Depression had to pause his education to work, so he could finish college and graduate. He went on to become the 37th president of the United States.
There have been other times and places in history when access to schools and higher learning have been prevented, including racial and sexual discrimination, income inequality and political unrest on campuses during the 1970s.
If college attendance is shut down for one semester or even more, it’s nothing new. Fortunately, we are already in the digital age. We don’t really need to converge in classrooms like we used to. Of course, face time in an interactive, dynamic atmosphere with a learned professor, creates critical thinking and is still available.
Th is the transition from structured classrooms was already moving
to-ward courses online. We were slowly adopting online schooling. The
coronavirus is just hastening the process and the future learning
environment of our new careers.
Perhaps eliminating the time and stress from commuting to school creates more qualitative time to focus. Adapting to different and emergency situations are and have always been part of the discipline of higher learning.
So, while the coronavirus inter-ruption is inconvenient, it should be treated as part of the transition of educational and business institutions of the future. We as students should appreciate it. So, consider this a sort of practice under fire. Another lesson learned.