Our Path Remains
I keep reading phrases in like extraordinary times, challenging times, or similar descriptions that try to connect where we are at and the changes happening around us. I do not write today with that in mind. I write to say that today, teachers, support staff, and administrators are doing the same job they have always done. They are standing up for the universal human right for everyone to have secure and equal access to a quality education today.
Each and every one of us deserves something to hang on to, to look toward in the future, to know that there is something that is ours alone that will carry us forward wherever we choose to go in whatever landscape the world provides us. This us is not you and I, but the ever binding race of humanity.
Today is no different than any other day in that the profession of education still stands to provide the opportunity to earn and forge our individual ways through this life with hope, with perseverance and personal cost, with defeats and setbacks, with triumphs and successes. Education does this not as individuals but as a profession seeking everyday to make the world around us better, to keep giving hope to each individual who enters into its doors. Whether its a kindergarten student learning their letters or a graduate student hoping to publish their research, education works to meet the needs of its students.
We know that we aren't perfect. We know that there are areas that we fail and that we excel in. We also know that every day we continue working to give every human access to the education they deserve.
Today is no different than every other day in that each of you working in this field are still doing this regardless of the times we are in. For that, you, my fellow members of this profession, are worthy of honor and gratitude. Thank you.
Our path is the same, even if it looks new or less traveled.
Today is no different than days before in that there are a variety of resources and sources by which education provides the materials students need. What has dramatically changed, without an end in site, is our students' ability to use, access, and acquire these resources.
Open education is a field within education that provides quality materials and resources without cost, with unlimited ease of access. For the last couple of decades, open education has worked diligently to be the answer and equalizer for quality and equitable education.
In a time when publishers and digital platforms are working hard to change practices and give students access, open educational resources do not need work. Their free and open access has always been there and will continue to be.
What is different about today is that need for consistent, affordable, and equitable access to educational resources is no longer an area of education that we can afford to discuss.
Today's student has more access and financial challenges than they've ever faced. Open educational resources (OER) are no longer a subset or portion of education that can be investigated or tried with proverbial toes dipped into the water. They are not the future of education. They are the today and tomorrow of education.
What is different about today is that how education responds to our students' needs and challenges today will define how we move forward as a profession. We have the opportunity to stop trying to address the issues of textbook affordability and make some monumental changes to a system that is very broken.
As members of this profession, there has never been a better time or a greater need to change our standard practices of doing business in the classroom than today.
Today is about getting education to our students.
Let's take this unprecedented opportunity to not give them more financial barriers, sign publisher contracts or commitments that they will have to abide by for the future, or providing more access walls for them to traverse.
There is a world-wide community just waiting to help you find the way.