Schools, Sandy, and “The New Normal”

Even for those of us lucky enough to be largely unscathed by Sandy, the storm has brought up issues where we never expected them. One of those largest areas is in education: school buildings themselves were damaged, some requiring significant repair; students and teachers have been displaced, some are still without power, and other have lost their homes; and the gas and clear roadways needed for busing (and in NYC, reliance on mass transit) have been changing daily.

Army Reserve pumps out Long Beach High School
Army Reserve pumps out Long Beach High School. Photo by DVIDSHUB via flickr

I’d like to write more about this at a later time, but for now, here’s your recommended reading for the week: this sobering piece from Education Week exploring the challenges faced by districts and those who have to make those decisions. School is so important  to kids for maintaining a source of consistency, not just for keeping up with the curriculum, but also in terms of having a safe place to go, where they know the teachers, the students, and the buildings–this is why the McKinney-Vento Act makes clear that every effort should be made to keep homeless children in their same schools.

As this area continues working towards “the new normal” (whatever that is), post-Sandy, a huge thanks for all the teachers and school administrators working to get kids through this. School is such a source of consistency for kids, and I have so much respect for those particularly who are dealing with their own storm losses while working for heading back to the classroom.

For those with children in their homes or in their classrooms in this area, I’ve written previously about resources for helping kids cope with natural disasters, and am looking for any additions to that list.

Relief efforts will be ongoing, and thousands in this area still have basic needs that include housing, food, and clothing, especially as the winter closes in. But if you’re inclined to make a donation that’s more education specific, Donors Choose has set up a separate page for projects resulting from Hurricane Sandy. Please consider contributing what you can to help these students weather the the new normal.

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