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Posts Tagged ‘Parent engagement’

Unsurprisingly, Reopened and Hybrid Schools are Facing Problems

August 28, 2020 Comments off

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In scrolling through the Education news on my phone this morning, I could have chosen any one of 10+ articles describing the complications reopened and hybrid schools are facing. I find these articles to be extremely sad for three reasons.

First and foremost, had our country made a NATIONAL decision to quarantine in place for 4-6 weeks at the outset of this outbreak, none of the debate over reopening would have been necessary. Had we made that decision at the outset, COVID levels would mirror those of other developed countries where reopening is underway with few complications and where students, like other citizens are adhering to mask wearing and social distancing protocols.

Secondly, this is sad because the complications were predictable AND impossible to address through careful planning. With so much uncertainty and so much unknown about the transmission of the disease it is not at all fair to blame administrators for a failure to plan ahead for every contingency. How could they when it was clear that the unknowns by definition were unknowable?

Third, it is sad because it shows that the parents’ and politicians’ concerns for a return to normalcy outweighed their concerns that their children could get or transmit a disease of unknown long term impact to others. The children’s well being is being sacrificed in the hopes that the transmission of the disease will not be exacerbated but with the full knowledge that it is not under control.

After reading and/or skimming several articles I chose this Chalkbeat article about the pending hybrid opening of NYC schools, which looks more and more like a train wreck. At this juncture there is no way to reverse the decision to reopen the most complicated school district in America… and because NYC took the pandemic seriously it is possible that they will not have the same level of disease spread as some other regions… but the stress induced on parents and children will be palpable and irreversible and, I believe, will offset any social gains students might get from gathering in one place with masks and social distance. And that is yet another reason to be sad.

Left-Leaning Politico Cautions Teachers’ Unions: Don’t Overreach

August 19, 2020 Comments off

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Politico has a message for teachers unions embedded in this article: can restore the public’s support for schools and teachers by keeping the focus on the safety and well-being of students OR you can turn parents against you and the schools you work in by asking for too much. At this juncture both parents and the public have grave misgivings about reopening schools: 66% of parents and 75% of the public worry about the potential for the spread of COVID 19 if schools reopen.

And here’s a reality the Politico article left unstated: Realizing the public sentiment against reopening schools, the POTUS and his hard core supporters are looking for someone or some group to blame… and public sector unions make an ideal target!

The bottom line for unions is to keep safe working conditions for STUDENTS at the forefront.

Pandemic Prodding More Parents to Consider Homeschooling

August 7, 2020 Comments off

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Bay Area parents, concerned about the lack of high quality and engaging on line instruction provided by public schools last Spring and concerned about the safety of their children in a “hybrid” program are increasingly looking into options and one of the more appealing ones is homeschooling. I have long believed that some kind of homeschool hybrid would emerge as a strong if not the best direction for public schools to go. But given the thinking of the parents quoted in this TV news story and the existing laws and regulations on homeschooling, now is not the time to launch such a program. The bottom line lure of homeschooling based on this report is that the government has less control over the curriculum and the lives of children. This is very appealing to parents who struggled to get their children to complete the online school work on time and satisfactorily but could become a means for parents to completely ignore schooling altogether and in some cases could lead to neglect and abuse at home. Finally, and just as concerning, it will clearly widen the opportunity gap as children in homes with books and access to high speed internet connection get opportunities that far exceed those who lack both.

Based on the latest thinking it appears that the COVID 19 virus is going to be with us for an extended time period. We might have to begin now to figure out how we can make schooling more equitable in this New Normal.