Home > Uncategorized > NY Times Op Ed Offers Creative Reopening Alternative that Misses One MAJOR Point

NY Times Op Ed Offers Creative Reopening Alternative that Misses One MAJOR Point

July 20, 2020

Today’s NYTimes includes an op ed article written by Dr. Shardha Jogee is an astronomy professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who is the mother of a 6th grader and a public voices fellow with the OpEd Project. In a nutshell, Dr. Jogee suggests:

Allow schools to offer only virtual classes this fall, and convert schools and other large unused spaces into Safe Centers for Online Learning. We could call them not schools, but “SCOLs.”

And who would attend these SCOLs?

“…the millions of kids from disadvantaged backgrounds whose homes are not conducive to online learning and who rely on schools for meals” and the children of “…parents who cannot work from home and watch over them?

While I don’t believe it is her intention to do so, I fear that Dr. Jogee’s ideas will exacerbate the existing inequities in the education program and create a nightmare for administrators. Kids who have to complete their online schoolwork during a fixed time period on cheap computers offered by schools are not playing on an even field with classmates who can do their classwork at home whenever they want to on far more sophisticated computers. Dr. Jogee’s plan effectively segregates schools based on the digital divide.

The thorniest administrative issue is determining who goes to a SCOL in addition to the students without internet access? Only students who qualify for free and reduced lunch? Only students who are unsupervised at home? And what parameters will be used to determine if a child’s home is “not conducive to learning”?

I would support a variant of this: open schools full-time to Pre-K to age 10-12 from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM and provide before and after child care for those who need it; open part-time with a hybrid program to older kids; and consider abandoning the traditional HS completely and replacing it with community based de-schooling.

Dr. Jogee is absolutely right about one point: Congress DOES need to provide billions to schools and fund creative options… but in doing so they need to keep their eye on the need to fund only those solutions that avoid further segregation based on the parents’ wealth.

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