Let the Principals & Teachers Decide


From the Wash Post:

Let’s agree for the sake of argument that the next school year is going to be terrible. The federal government and the states are at odds over when to put kids back in classrooms. Planning by superintendents and school boards is both messy and tardy. Whatever is decided will probably crumble in the next coronavirus surge.

It will be a disaster. What should we do?
Here is a suggestion only the bravest and smartest school board members will ever consider: Let principals and teachers decide. They know their students better than anyone except parents, who would just as soon get back to work. If school staff are allowed to try their best ideas, some might click. The results can’t be any worse than what will happen anyway.

Tell each principal and teacher how many students they are going to have and let them sort it out. They must have the courage to put forth their ideas. Clever superintendents and principals should urge teachers to speak up. The only limits should be common sense, the resources at hand and the law. Parents would have to be consulted, but they will be happy for any help given the load that was dumped on them in March with no warning.

A few weeks ago I asked readers for ideas. Many of those who replied were teachers. Much of what they said was compelling and worth trying.
Why not create student pairs for reading and discussion? Even without the latest gadgets they could link up from their homes using my favorite ancient technology, the telephone. They could read to each other. They could discuss the questions teachers sent them while enjoying the contact with each other so many have missed.

How about assigning every student an hour of reading each evening with a parent or older sibling? That is what many families do anyway. Why not make it a requirement? It would be free of the stress that comes with regular homework, trying to figure out answers.
Some readers told me sources of learning in communities are being overlooked: museums, parks, recreation centers, local businesses and colleges. In this emergency, such enterprises could join with educators to put together something different that might engage students online.

If some classes are scheduled at school, why not try more art and music? There is no way in these circumstances we’re going to make much progress in reading, writing and arithmetic. Why not do something fun and cut down on no-shows?

The best students can be asked to work with those who need help. Children might suggest their own projects. They could walk around their block and write about what they found most interesting. They could bake cookies based on the official recipe, and then try different proportions and report the results.
The best charter schools have made good use of their freedom from old school district rules and biases. Why shouldn’t teachers and principals at regular public schools have a chance to do that, at least during this crisis?

I have praised the Uncommon charter schools in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts for their close attention to classroom practices in these difficult times. They have found that prerecorded videos are often the best way to teach online. Phone calls to homes, they say, reveal the best ways to encourage participation by students who aren’t logging in.

Why can’t regular school staff do that? They know their students as well as teachers in charter schools know theirs. Some of the most successful charter school leaders got their best ideas when they were still working in regular schools, being told they could not do what they wanted to do. The vast majority of our teachers still work in regular schools. Why can’t they use unconventional but sensible methods, such as visiting families at home to help them get ready for school? Union leaders should reconsider telling creative teachers to do less, as revealed by my colleague Laura Meckler in her big story about a San Francisco school.

I sound like I am giving up on the new school year before it starts. I am. We have to admit this will be the worst school year ever. No one knows exactly what will happen, but it will not be good. What we face is an extreme combination of hurricanes, tornadoes, major earthquakes and the day my drill sergeant ordered us to set up our barracks outside.

We have to get through it. We must look forward to the day we put it behind us. With a free hand, the professionals who will eventually have to clean up this mess might be able to experiment with fresh ideas we all can learn from.
 

Desert Hound

PREMIER
If some classes are scheduled at school, why not try more art and music? There is no way in these circumstances we’re going to make much progress in reading, writing and arithmetic. Why not do something fun and cut down on no-shows?
The above is the mindset. Failure.
Union leaders should reconsider telling creative teachers to do less, as revealed by my colleague Laura Meckler in her big story about a San Francisco school.
The unions are not on the side of kids and families.
 

JumboJack

SILVER ELITE
In LA county, schools are not going to be allowed to open for in person classes. So what are they going to do about families that can't stay home and be with their kids while the "distance learn"? They are going to open classrooms and community centers so kids can come and do their "distance learning" in a classroom setting with the help of adult aids... You know, JUST LIKE IN A CLASSROOM!
 

From the Wash Post:

Let’s agree for the sake of argument that the next school year is going to be terrible. The federal government and the states are at odds over when to put kids back in classrooms. Planning by superintendents and school boards is both messy and tardy. Whatever is decided will probably crumble in the next coronavirus surge.

It will be a disaster. What should we do?
Here is a suggestion only the bravest and smartest school board members will ever consider: Let principals and teachers decide. They know their students better than anyone except parents, who would just as soon get back to work. If school staff are allowed to try their best ideas, some might click. The results can’t be any worse than what will happen anyway.

Tell each principal and teacher how many students they are going to have and let them sort it out. They must have the courage to put forth their ideas. Clever superintendents and principals should urge teachers to speak up. The only limits should be common sense, the resources at hand and the law. Parents would have to be consulted, but they will be happy for any help given the load that was dumped on them in March with no warning.

A few weeks ago I asked readers for ideas. Many of those who replied were teachers. Much of what they said was compelling and worth trying.
Why not create student pairs for reading and discussion? Even without the latest gadgets they could link up from their homes using my favorite ancient technology, the telephone. They could read to each other. They could discuss the questions teachers sent them while enjoying the contact with each other so many have missed.

How about assigning every student an hour of reading each evening with a parent or older sibling? That is what many families do anyway. Why not make it a requirement? It would be free of the stress that comes with regular homework, trying to figure out answers.
Some readers told me sources of learning in communities are being overlooked: museums, parks, recreation centers, local businesses and colleges. In this emergency, such enterprises could join with educators to put together something different that might engage students online.

If some classes are scheduled at school, why not try more art and music? There is no way in these circumstances we’re going to make much progress in reading, writing and arithmetic. Why not do something fun and cut down on no-shows?

The best students can be asked to work with those who need help. Children might suggest their own projects. They could walk around their block and write about what they found most interesting. They could bake cookies based on the official recipe, and then try different proportions and report the results.
The best charter schools have made good use of their freedom from old school district rules and biases. Why shouldn’t teachers and principals at regular public schools have a chance to do that, at least during this crisis?

I have praised the Uncommon charter schools in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts for their close attention to classroom practices in these difficult times. They have found that prerecorded videos are often the best way to teach online. Phone calls to homes, they say, reveal the best ways to encourage participation by students who aren’t logging in.

Why can’t regular school staff do that? They know their students as well as teachers in charter schools know theirs. Some of the most successful charter school leaders got their best ideas when they were still working in regular schools, being told they could not do what they wanted to do. The vast majority of our teachers still work in regular schools. Why can’t they use unconventional but sensible methods, such as visiting families at home to help them get ready for school? Union leaders should reconsider telling creative teachers to do less, as revealed by my colleague Laura Meckler in her big story about a San Francisco school.

I sound like I am giving up on the new school year before it starts. I am. We have to admit this will be the worst school year ever. No one knows exactly what will happen, but it will not be good. What we face is an extreme combination of hurricanes, tornadoes, major earthquakes and the day my drill sergeant ordered us to set up our barracks outside.

We have to get through it. We must look forward to the day we put it behind us. With a free hand, the professionals who will eventually have to clean up this mess might be able to experiment with fresh ideas we all can learn from.
My “regular” school does all of this. We have some basic guidelines from our district, but they don’t impede any of your suggestions.
 

MacDre

GOLD
The parent in me agrees with many of your points. However, I don’t think the proposal is reasonable because of the law of Negligence.

The schools have a “duty to protect all foreseeable plaintiffs in the zone of danger.” If something goes wrong and a plaintiff’s attorney can make plausible arguments that the harm was foreseeable the schools would have big problems.
 

MacDre

GOLD
In LA county, schools are not going to be allowed to open for in person classes. So what are they going to do about families that can't stay home and be with their kids while the "distance learn"? They are going to open classrooms and community centers so kids can come and do their "distance learning" in a classroom setting with the help of adult aids... You know, JUST LIKE IN A CLASSROOM!
I think this may be a way to avoid a Negligence claim against the district if something goes wrong.
 

Grace T.

PREMIER
In LA county, schools are not going to be allowed to open for in person classes. So what are they going to do about families that can't stay home and be with their kids while the "distance learn"? They are going to open classrooms and community centers so kids can come and do their "distance learning" in a classroom setting with the help of adult aids... You know, JUST LIKE IN A CLASSROOM!
It only goes to show it was never about slowing the spread, it was never about protecting the kids, it's all about the teachers that think they are more entitled than the McDonald's worker, the air con guy or plumber or has to go into your home, or the meat packing plant worker or grocery worker.
 

MacDre

GOLD
It only goes to show it was never about slowing the spread, it was never about protecting the kids, it's all about the teachers that think they are more entitled than the McDonald's worker, the air con guy or plumber or has to go into your home, or the meat packing plant worker or grocery worker.
What’s your Negligence analysis?
 

Grace T.

PREMIER
What’s your Negligence analysis?
Negligence would be a greater concern if a) parents weren't given a choice (and were forced to send the kids in) but with disclaimers this can be mitigated and b) by adhering to the govt guidelines (hence why Trump and the CDC clashed on the guidelines). Negligence claims for illness has also been very very tough historically....remember the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to establish the case and that includes causation (that you caught it from school and were otherwise locked up tightly and couldn't have caught it from any other place). Otherwise, remember, kids die during flu season....many of them have caught it at schools....lawsuits for this generally haven't gone anywhere.....the little case law out there surrounds intentionally or recklessly giving someone a disease like VD or Aids.

It's a concern but not the deciding one. It comes down to the teachers. The didn't want to put themselves at risk.
 

Desert Hound

PREMIER
In LA county, schools are not going to be allowed to open for in person classes. So what are they going to do about families that can't stay home and be with their kids while the "distance learn"? They are going to open classrooms and community centers so kids can come and do their "distance learning" in a classroom setting with the help of adult aids... You know, JUST LIKE IN A CLASSROOM!
There is no logical consistency.

The only thing logically consistent is this. The unions and teachers do not want to be in class. These community centers with kids and adults...the adults won't be teachers. So for the union and teachers that is a win win. For the kids a substandard eduation.

And for the rest of us? We wonder if someone can propose this as a solution...why not just be in a classroom as you said above? How is one safe? But the other (actual classrooms) a safety concern?

Madness.
 

watfly

PREMIER
In LA county, schools are not going to be allowed to open for in person classes. So what are they going to do about families that can't stay home and be with their kids while the "distance learn"? They are going to open classrooms and community centers so kids can come and do their "distance learning" in a classroom setting with the help of adult aids... You know, JUST LIKE IN A CLASSROOM!
Exactly, our youth services clubhouses will be the new schools. We have actual classrooms where these kids will be doing their online learning while being tutored by our staff that had zero problem coming back to work.

Since when did teachers become a special protected class? I find it ironic that they consider themselves essential when its contract time but when the rubber hits the road, now they're not essential. Now I know a lot of teachers don't feel that way but their unions clearly do.

We should provide all the protections necessary for teachers and if for some reason the $70 billion proposed by the President isn't sufficient then do what it takes to increase the amount, but not without accountability of where the funds are spent.
 

MSK357

GOLD
I hope parents see the corrupt abuse of power the unions have right now and show it with their votes. Public schools and unions have a place, but not when it abuses its power to the point the students suffer. I hope the silver lining of this situation is more charter schools, school vouchers, and homeschooling. Let the public schools and unions compete for students. The ones with the best results win.
 
Concerning Teachers: Teachers have a right to be concerned. A teacher in a middle school or high school may be in the same room as 100 different kids during the day. As of July 22, California had 413,500 confirmed Covid-19 cases, just a shade over 1% of California's population. The death rate in California for confirmed cases is 7,870, which is just a hair below 2%. California has about 300,000 teachers in K-12 public schools. There are more in private schools. Let's say that just 2% of teachers get the virus, and 2% die. That translates to somewhere between 6,000 and 12,000 sick teachers, and 120 - 240 deaths. Why should teachers have to take this risk when the general public does not?

Concerning Public Health: But the biggest danger is not to teachers. Kids with the corona-virus will more likely spread it to each other than to teachers. Those kids will go home, and some will spread it to their families. People say that we should open school "for the kids," because they seem to do better with the virus than adults. But that does not help Grandma or Grandpa. We have public safety laws to protect the public. We close schools partly to protect kids, but also to protect the larger public.
 

Grace T.

PREMIER
Concerning Teachers: Teachers have a right to be concerned. A teacher in a middle school or high school may be in the same room as 100 different kids during the day. As of July 22, California had 413,500 confirmed Covid-19 cases, just a shade over 1% of California's population. The death rate in California for confirmed cases is 7,870, which is just a hair below 2%. California has about 300,000 teachers in K-12 public schools. There are more in private schools. Let's say that just 2% of teachers get the virus, and 2% die. That translates to somewhere between 6,000 and 12,000 sick teachers, and 120 - 240 deaths. Why should teachers have to take this risk when the general public does not?

Concerning Public Health: But the biggest danger is not to teachers. Kids with the corona-virus will more likely spread it to each other than to teachers. Those kids will go home, and some will spread it to their families. People say that we should open school "for the kids," because they seem to do better with the virus than adults. But that does not help Grandma or Grandpa. We have public safety laws to protect the public. We close schools partly to protect kids, but also to protect the larger public.
The protect the larger public argument though goes out the window if you allow the kids to go to day care like New York and Los Angeles are doing. Then you are just doing it for the teachers.
 

MacDre

GOLD
The protect the larger public argument though goes out the window if you allow the kids to go to day care like New York and Los Angeles are doing. Then you are just doing it for the teachers.
Or limiting liability. No need for parents to sign school waivers if they accept the risk themselves and open day cares.
 
Exactly, our youth services clubhouses will be the new schools. We have actual classrooms where these kids will be doing their online learning while being tutored by our staff that had zero problem coming back to work.

Since when did teachers become a special protected class? I find it ironic that they consider themselves essential when its contract time but when the rubber hits the road, now they're not essential. Now I know a lot of teachers don't feel that way but their unions clearly do.

We should provide all the protections necessary for teachers and if for some reason the $70 billion proposed by the President isn't sufficient then do what it takes to increase the amount, but not without accountability of where the funds are spent.
All of you deserve the misery you're in. You all crap on teacher's and not one of you, except Watfly, mentioned anything about protections for teachers.

Now let's see which one of you has any balls and will agree with me that we should get teachers: 1) everyday testing for staff & kids; 2) masks; 3) sanitizing equipment, such as sanitizing fans Arizona is going to use.

This is all it takes folks, no too difficult in my opinion.
 
I hope parents see the corrupt abuse of power the unions have right now and show it with their votes. Public schools and unions have a place, but not when it abuses its power to the point the students suffer. I hope the silver lining of this situation is more charter schools, school vouchers, and homeschooling. Let the public schools and unions compete for students. The ones with the best results win.
You're on, as long as it's apples to apples, let's do it. We'll test the kids baseline first day of class then test them last day of class. Teachers who improve kids' performance the most win. Top public school teachers will CRUSH the privates and charters!
 
Concerning Teachers: Teachers have a right to be concerned. A teacher in a middle school or high school may be in the same room as 100 different kids during the day. As of July 22, California had 413,500 confirmed Covid-19 cases, just a shade over 1% of California's population. The death rate in California for confirmed cases is 7,870, which is just a hair below 2%. California has about 300,000 teachers in K-12 public schools. There are more in private schools. Let's say that just 2% of teachers get the virus, and 2% die. That translates to somewhere between 6,000 and 12,000 sick teachers, and 120 - 240 deaths. Why should teachers have to take this risk when the general public does not?
there are many different methods and strategies to set up a middle or high school non-traditionally. yes, if you think back to your h.s. classroom, you're right, they might see 100 different kids throughout the day. But, teacher and admin faculties were proposing strategies like keeping kids in the same rooms all day, dividing schools into smaller groups (or pods), having half the school come in on Mon/Weds and the other half Tues/Thurs, keeping teachers in the front of the classroom with tape on the floor to keep all students (masked) at least 10ft away, etc. etc. Union just doesn't even want to try nor give the private/charter schools the chance to try. And Newsom gave them cover. Shameful.
 

MacDre

GOLD
there are many different methods and strategies to set up a middle or high school non-traditionally. yes, if you think back to your h.s. classroom, you're right, they might see 100 different kids throughout the day. But, teacher and admin faculties were proposing strategies like keeping kids in the same rooms all day, dividing schools into smaller groups (or pods), having half the school come in on Mon/Weds and the other half Tues/Thurs, keeping teachers in the front of the classroom with tape on the floor to keep all students (masked) at least 10ft away, etc. etc. Union just doesn't even want to try nor give the private/charter schools the chance to try. And Newsom gave them cover. Shameful.
You seem a tad bit biased. Do you work for a charter school?
 
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