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Posts Tagged ‘Parent engagement’

Why Oh Why Isn’t the NYTimes Looking at Different Models for Schooling?

June 30, 2020 Leave a comment

NYTimes op ed columnist Michelle Goldberg can usually be counted on to come up with creative solutions or at least insightful perspectives on persistent and complicated problems. Her column today, “Remote School Is a Nightmare. Few in Power Care“, falls short of her standard. Instead of proposing a new direction for schools, a broadening of their mission, or a change in the model we currently follow, Ms. Goldberg’s only alternative solution is offered by Brown economist Emily Oster who suggested

…hiring college-aged people — who are disproportionately unemployed — as something like camp counselors. Kids, kept in pods, would attend schools for part of the day, then move to a space where counselors could oversee online learning or recess.

Where would that surplus space be found? Closed Macy’s stores, perhaps… but space will be a challenge if the 6 foot distancing is enforced. Ms. Goldberg also draws on insights from union president Randy Weingarten, who notes that “(t)o open safely, schools are going to need much more money to buy protective equipment like gloves and masks, retrofit buildings and hire more teachers and nurses” while also noting that adding costs while cutting budgets is an impossibility. The solution Ms. Weingarten sees is passing the HEROES funding… not making any substantive changes to schooling. Here’s comment I left:

This is a golden opportunity for schools to change the way they operate. Open them in a traditional format for Pre-K-early adolescence and keep them open for child care from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM for that age group. Offer a hybrid format for all others while offering alternatives to the traditional high school format, one that many students find disengaging. Alas, instead of looking at new models for schooling we are using the 1920s framework as the basis for the future.

Ms. Goldberg ends her column with this plaintive observation:

Airlines got a bailout. Parents are on their own.

Airlines, though, are going to adapt…. will schools?

One Parental Choice Will Likely be Offered Nationally: Virtual or In Person?

June 27, 2020 Leave a comment

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As noted in this Chalkbeat article, there is one wildcard in the decision to reopen: what to do with parents who are reluctant to send their children back to school. The article describes how several districts across the country are planning to deal with it, with the polling results indicating that at least 25% of students will NOT be returning to class. As the article notes, this poses a number of challenges. If ADA drives funding, are virtual students counted as FTEs? Who buys the computers for the students? What happens to seat time standards? Which teachers are assigned to virtual learning?

One reality is unstated: parents WILL be given the choice to keep their children home and if they make that choice schools will be required to provide instruction for them. Two questions not posed by the article is this: once the choice to provide virtual learning in lieu of in person learning will it ever be possible to take that option away? And, once the infrastructure for virtual learning is in place how can homeschooling continue in its current paradigm?

Survey on 2020 Needed FAR More than Re-Opening Survey

June 13, 2020 1 comment

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The NYC schools are conducting a survey of students, parents and employees to get some kind of idea on how to reopen schools in September. At the same time, their Superintendent is indicating that some form of online learning will be incorporated into any reopening plan. A survey soliciting opinions on reopening would clearly provide the administration in NYC with helpful information on the various parameters under consideration, but I think it is FAR more important to gather as much feedback as possible on the experience the parents, employees and ESPECIALLY the students just had with online learning so that adjustments can be made. We just had a once in a century experience with shifting to a different form of instruction. Let’s take the time to gather as much helpful information on that experience as possible.