You can go home again

This week my “Sunday ramble” happened on a Wednesday. That’s when I wrote for El Colectivo 506 about a story I am beyond excited to write in early 2021: the continuation, 15 years later, of an education series I reported in 2006 with photographer colleague and friend Mónica Quesada.

I have a terrible memory, but I remember reporting that series so clearly. The sheer noise level in the school in La Carpio, where the classroom walls seemed thin as paper. The shortness of the school day in the small town of Pacayas. The surprising conversations I had with teachers and principals, kids and parents.

I’d proposed the series to my editor, hoping that by not only visiting three very different schools, but also trailing three second-graders throughout the day, I’d get insight into the public education system’s inequalities. Short answer: I did. And now, Mónica and I are planning to revisit the series and its featured communities to learn how the past 15 years, and the COVID-19 crisis, have treated them.

Riding home from school with Steven in 2006. Photo by Mónica Quesada.

Here’s more from El Colectivo 506:

THIS WEEK IN OUR NEWSROOM: an article 15 years in the making. (ESP en el post de abajo.)

How can we help Costa Rica’s young people emerge from the COVID-19 crisis? What is the path, in 2020, towards quality education in Costa Rica? At El Colectivo 506, we believe that to plan the future, we need to understand the past. In February 2021, our journalists Katherine Stanley Obando and Mónica Quesada Cordero will return to the communities they got to know in 2004 when they spent various days following second-grade students in three very different contexts: public schools in downtown San José, the binational La Carpio community, and rural Pacayas de Cartago. Back then, we observed each student’s trip to and from school; the classes they received; and the challenges they faced, in the words of their teachers, parents and, of course, the kids themselves.

Now we want to return to these schools and find out what has changed in the past 15 years – and what hasn’t. We’ll explore how the crisis caused by COVID-19 has affected urban magnet, low-income urban, and rural schools in different ways. We want to ask children, teachers and parents how they think the country’s schools should move forward.

And of course, we will try to find Steven (in the photo), Greivin and Ariana, the children we met in 2006 and who know are 22 and 23 years old, to find out how the inequalities and particular characteristics we noticed in their elementary schools have affected the course of their lives.

Are you intrigued? Would you like to help us do this reporting, as well as other journalists who want to work with El Colectivo 506 to create the coverage of their dreams? Visit the link below and DONATE TODAY to a new, bilingual media organization that is community-based and journalist-owned. Photo by Mónica Quesada Cordero.

elcolectivo506 #subasealcolectivo

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