As reported earlier, the union representing Los Angeles Unified School District’s teachers sent what amounted to a ransom note, listing numerous demands to be met before students could return to campus after the coronavirus pandemic. The demands included many found in “Peoples Budget” proposals, including defunding police, Medicare for All, and housing as a human right.
Monday morning LAUSD, in conjunction with the San Diego Unified School District, partially took a knee, announcing that students wouldn’t be returning to campus in the fall and that all instruction would be delivered remotely for the foreseeable future.
This is a massive blow to parents and students who were hoping for at least a hybrid model, for multiple reasons. Obviously parents who need to work and put food on the table find it difficult to also monitor their child’s distance learning, but that’s only one reason this decision is incredibly destructive.
The needs of students with physical handicaps and learning disabilities who have had difficulty obtaining necessary services should be considered. With campuses shut down, high school student/athletes are missing out on opportunities to sharpen their skills and compete, which can have a major impact on the trajectory of their entire life (affecting possible college scholarship opportunities). High school students who participate in other extracurricular activities like dance, theatre, filmmaking, robotics, are also impacted since competent instruction in those fields can’t be delivered solely on a remote basis.
For the most part, students from poor families where both parents have to work outside the home will be hit hardest. In addition to the students essentially being on their own, those families aren’t able to pay for tutors or other educational aids.
The flip side of that coin is, some LAUSD schools are so terrible that distance learning might be an upgrade for students in those schools. If the teachers show up, that is. During the last few months of the last school year, when schools had quickly moved to a distance learning model, a common complaint from parents was the lack of communication and instruction time teachers were providing students; many felt that teachers had essentially abdicated their role to parents. LAUSD Superintendent Austin Buetner said Monday that in the new school year teachers will be expected to take daily attendance, and provide “standards-based instruction including daily, live instruction and regular assessment of student progress.”
Prepared text: pic.twitter.com/oFsCKliOex
— Kyle Stokes (@kystokes) July 6, 2020
Sure, Austin. Los Angeles Unified parents will believe that when they see it.