Whew. What a crazy time we’re in. With the nation shutting down over COVID-19, schools have transitioned to online/remote learning. As a result of this announcement, teachers were forced to take their weekends to plan for online instruction to begin the next Monday. Even in the metro Atlanta area, administrators have been monitoring teachers’ compliance by randomly popping into their online class sessions and requiring online attendance at faculty meetings.
What. A. JOKE!
Teachers, students, families, and every other community member in Atlanta have literally had their daily lives turned upside down. Those teachers who are also parents are now tasked with ensuring their students receive perfect online instruction as well as homeschooling their own children. I’ve heard time and time again from colleagues that the amount of stress they’re under has increased since districts made the online transition.
Although online/remote learning sounds ideal in theory, there are a variety of issues with this requirement. The main concern swirling around my mind as I consider this less than the ideal season is:
Lack of equity.
It starts here. Within their four walls, schools “try” to provide an equitable education to every student; however, when students are sent home and tasked with completing certain assignments, there can be missing pieces of the puzzle. These missing pieces include, but are not limited to:
- lack of services for students with 504 plans and IEPs, as well as students in the IEP process
- using outdated and unreliable technology
- less than ideal home environments
- Not all parents are able to assist their children with academics due to various reasons (including work schedule, illness, various other demands,lack of care, etc.)
- Teachers not really being equipped and prepared to strictly deliver instruction remotely.
I can’t help but to think about how many students are not being provided with the individualized services they actually need to succeed. Teachers are being forced to develop lessons and meet crazy school and district demands. The unfairness of it all is sickening.
It is past time for districts and schools to develop a solid plan to consider the needs of all students. Although this pandemic could not have been planned for, districts should have developed a remote learning plan in the case of schools closings for snow days.
The time has come for districts and schools in the metro Atlanta area to reconsider their priorities. Our students depend on it.