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Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

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Anonymous Bosch
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Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

An interesting take on kindergartener virtual education courtesy of author and essayist Emily Gould writing for The Atlantic...

Remote Learning Is a Bad Joke
The Atlantic wrote:My kid can’t handle a virtual education, and neither can I.

One exciting thing about being alive at this pivotal moment in history is that I’m constantly learning about strong opinions I didn’t previously know I had. Before mid-March 2020, if you’d asked me how I felt about videoconferencing, I’d have shrugged. It’s fine? Now I would have to amend that opinion slightly. It’s not fine. It’s horrible, a form of psychic torture, and I hate it so deeply that my hatred feels physical, like an allergic reaction.

This allergy isn’t caused by my adult professional experiences: I can force myself to participate in online panels and meetings and literary events (though I will not, I’m sorry, attend my extended family’s weekly Zoom happy hour). I can plan ahead and deal with the sucked-dry, brain-dead exhaustion that follows a Zoom-heavy day. My hatred comes, rather, from having coached my 5-year-old son Raffi through virtual schooling in the spring. And I’m dreading the fall, when his kindergarten class will be conducted at least partially, and possibly entirely, remotely. I’m eager to be proved wrong, but I suspect that for him and for my family, Zoom kindergarten might be worse than no school at all.

To say that virtual pre-K didn’t go well would be an understatement. On day one Raffi cried, screamed, hit his parents, hit his brother, broke things, and spat a cup of juice all over my laptop. The next day, my husband and I tried it again, and things went about the same way. But we kept trying, because we had no idea what else to do. School was a lifeline of normalcy that we were clinging to. Eventually, we scaled back to requiring that Raffi scrawl his name and a few letters and numbers before heading out to the park in the morning, and we sat down to the Zoom classes only if he seemed amenable. But they took so much out of him, out of all of us, even when they went okay. They seemed to use up all of his being-agreeable energy for the day, leaving us to deal with what remained.

After the school year ended, I could assess our failures from a slight distance. Our first mistake, I think, was expecting that Raffi would be as excited about online school as we were. We’d been so eager to see his wonderful teacher and his classmates that we hadn’t paused to think about how jarring it would be for Raffi, who had only recently learned that the people in the TV set weren’t tiny puppets. Previously, he’d experienced online interaction only via one-on-one FaceTime sessions with his patient, indulgent grandma and grandpa. So we had unrealistic expectations of Raffi’s ability to sit in front of a screen that wasn’t playing Wild Kratts.

Raffi had unrealistic expectations too: He was used to being able to talk to his classmates directly, to hug them and hold hands with them and fight with them. “X stepped on my hand on the playground on purpose,” he told us repeatedly that spring, not angrily but in the bemused tone of someone nurturing a grudge into full flower. This eventually became a tone of nostalgia: If only X would step on his hand again! He was used to being able to sing and speak in a chorus. He had no prior experience of muting himself. Arguably, this was a good time for him to learn that valuable skill. He would argue that it was not. He would argue, I’m pretty sure, about anything if he thought it might distract you from making him do something he didn’t want to do.

Raffi has matured somewhat since the spring—for instance, he has recently stopped making his little brother cry, because he understands that my husband and I will follow through on our threats of “If he cries, no Batman!” And I’m optimistic that, given a summer to prepare, rather than a handful of crisis-filled days, his teachers will have a better handle on what they’re hoping to achieve via video. For some kids, online education might be neutral or even good, and I know that teachers are giving their all to put these plans in place, despite the fact that it’s no one’s favorite way to teach or learn. I even think Raffi might be able to improve his digital etiquette—to get better at waiting his turn to speak without slamming the computer shut because he’s bored, to sit through a lesson without whining or screaming.

But is digital etiquette something I want Raffi to learn at age 5? He’ll have the rest of his life to figure out the niceties of interacting with people through a screen. I can’t accept that he should get acclimated to this form of school. I think about how drained and bad I feel after an online panel discussion, and I can’t help but extrapolate that to my kid’s malleable brain. I don’t think it’s going to cause him lasting damage—I know how adaptable kids are. I just hate to bear witness to his frustration and upset. I keep thinking there must be some solution I haven’t thought of yet.

When I imagine the worst-case scenario for Raffi and the fall, I see the kind of operatic tantrum that leaves the apartment trashed and everyone’s nerves shot, like what happened daily in the spring. When I imagine the best-case scenario, I see a kid who has fought and lost, who’s gritting his teeth through a required task because we’ve promised him fruit snacks—hardly horrifying, but definitely sad.

Even our worst-case scenario is a privileged one; a trashed apartment and frayed nerves are nothing in comparison with what other parents are about to undergo. My husband and I can work at home, and we can afford some assistance with child care. The huge number of parents who must work outside the home, parents who can’t afford any child care, and parents who don’t feel comfortable managing a sitter’s viral risk alongside their own are in a far worse situation. But no one’s situation is good. Kids like Raffi—who seem predisposed against online learning—are going to turn the fall into a battle. While I won’t go so far as to preemptively throw in the towel, I’m not sure how long or how hard I’m prepared to fight.
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." -- Daniel Webster

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by stessier »

Did this need it's own thread?

Should I post my own anecdotal experiences showing that it works great in Middle and High School settings? Does it matter that I can totally understand why it would work poorly in kindergarten? What type of discussion were you hoping for?
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by LawBeefaroni »

No way K and Pre-K should be remote learning. Doesn't mean they have to go in-person but pretending remote is a substitute is crazy.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

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having your kindergartner do remote learning must have been a difficult decision for you
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by coopasonic »

Jaymon wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:48 pm
having your kindergartner do remote learning must have been a difficult decision for you
This guy pays attention.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Jeff V »

My son (starting first grade Thursday) had mixed results. He seemed to handle the Zoom sessions just fine, but they were short, never more than 30 minutes per day. During his last months of kindergarten, we got a matrix sent on Monday with links to various activities by subject matter. Some were recorded videos by the school staff, others were Youtube links and the like. Some were worksheets that had to be printed. This did NOT amount to the 3 hours of class time he was missing, as he would not focus on some of the tasks, and too quickly finished others. During summer school, he had 30 minute class sessions followed by self-paced websites for language and math. He would often get frustrated if he didn't understand the instructions then just kept screaming he wanted to be done. In the end, he was at or ahead of where the metrics say he should be, which is good, but too much tension and arguments in the process.

For that reason, I declined the remote option -- I think this will take him down the road to hating school. As it is, he is ambivalent about going back on Thursday. He was still excited about school when summer school began. Older kids that are self-starters probably wouldn't be hurt too much by remote learning, but it's not for the young'uns. If there wasn't an in-class option, then I'd deal with whatever remote learning we're given, knowing all of the other kids are in the same boat and I'm certain my kid's issues aren't uncommon. But with full-day classroom instruction available, he's going to fall way behind if I relied on his sporadic interest in remote learning, so even though there's a real risk he can bring home an infection that will kill me (I'm high-risk) and sideline my wife (financial disaster, she's a nurse and gets no sick or vacation pay...she'd be out of a paycheck for weeks and we'd lose the house). I'd rather not be sending him back...but I don't see a real choice.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by stessier »

coopasonic wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:49 pm
Jaymon wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:48 pm
having your kindergartner do remote learning must have been a difficult decision for you
This guy pays attention.
That's only appropriate for Emily - and I'm pretty sure she's not AB's pseudonym.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by dbt1949 »

Is kindergarten mandatory? I only went 5-6 months myself.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

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LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:38 pm
No way K and Pre-K should be remote learning. Doesn't mean they have to go in-person but pretending remote is a substitute is crazy.
For K/Pre-K, I'd think remote learning would be nearly ideal if you developed a system. Like PBS with feedback. The big exception being that school is also a tool for social development and interactive television isn't going to do a great job helping the development of social skills, which is largely done through exposure to peers.

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

stessier wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:36 pm
Did this need it's own thread?

Should I post my own anecdotal experiences showing that it works great in Middle and High School settings? Does it matter that I can totally understand why it would work poorly in kindergarten? What type of discussion were you hoping for?
As I said, I thought it was an interesting take that echoed what I've heard from numerous other parents of younger children whose experiences were very similar to that of the author. So if it somehow rubbed you the wrong way, oh well. If there's an existing thread you feel would've made for a more appropriate location, why not provide the link and share it instead of becoming a scold?
Last edited by Anonymous Bosch on Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

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LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:38 pm
No way K and Pre-K should be remote learning. Doesn't mean they have to go in-person but pretending remote is a substitute is crazy.
What's the other alternative? No school?

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

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Anonymous Bosch wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:12 pm
stessier wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:36 pm
Did this need it's own thread?

Should I post my own anecdotal experiences showing that it works great in Middle and High School settings? Does it matter that I can totally understand why it would work poorly in kindergarten? What type of discussion were you hoping for?
As I said, I thought it was an interesting take that echoed what I've heard from numerous other parents of younger children whose experiences were very similar to that of the author. So if it somehow rubbed you the wrong way, oh well.
The title of the thread does not lend itself to discussion. It is a statement with a viewpoint on a controversial topic. Bummer if my questions to your intent rubbed you the wrong way.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by LawBeefaroni »

LordMortis wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:10 pm
LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:38 pm
No way K and Pre-K should be remote learning. Doesn't mean they have to go in-person but pretending remote is a substitute is crazy.
For K/Pre-K, I'd think remote learning would be nearly ideal if you developed a system. Like PBS with feedback. The big exception being that school is also a tool for social development and interactive television isn't going to do a great job helping the development of social skills, which is largely done through exposure to peers.
Having had a kid who went through 3 months of remote pre-K and who is now back in school, the difference is night and day.

Some kids might be able to sit still and quiet front of a screen showing a teacher for more than 10 minutes but I haven't met one yet.

Sure, if you get professional streamer level production out of every teacher you may be able to hold their attention. That's just a small portion of the battle. Learning at that age is also largely tactile. Are you going to equip every home with a full suite of materials?


And that's ignoring the social interaction, which we've all noted is critical to development.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

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stessier wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:18 pm
The title of the thread does not lend itself to discussion. It is a statement with a viewpoint on a controversial topic.
No, it's merely the heading of the relevant story being shared. Lighten up, Francis.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by ImLawBoy »

We had two kids doing Kindergarten remote during spring. While it was far from ideal, it was doable, and that was a situation where the teachers didn't really have any time to prepare. It helped that my wife and I really thought that the twins' main classroom teacher went above and beyond, and not everyone is going to have that same experience. It also helps that I'm working from home (and my wife isn't working, although she's a full-time doctoral student and is also handling the education interaction with our 10 year old, which is a lot more complicated than for most kids due to his various disabilities). I have a lot of sympathy for those who don't have the privileges we do.

I think the upcoming year will likely be better than last year, if for no other reason than schools and teachers will have had time to prepare for online learning (at least, this applies in areas where they weren't kidding themselves about things). It's obviously still not ideal, but you play the hand your dealt.

I think the original article is interesting in that it provides a look at the challenges of online learning, especially for the younger set. It's overly dramatic and frankly doesn't paint the author in a very good light IMO, but the author probably isn't too worried about what I think. I don't think the article is intending to argue that all schooling should be in-person this fall - if it is, it's an abject failure in that regard. In other words, taken for what it is it's fine, but it's certainly not a very effective arrow in the quiver of those who think all learning should be in-person this year.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by LordMortis »

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:21 pm
Sure, if you get professional streamer level production out of every teacher you may be able to hold their attention. That's just a small portion of the battle.
That's the thing, though. The problem isn't the nature of remote learning, it's that we haven't accepted resigning ourselves to a professional streamer level production that could reach the bulk of the demographic and then have teachers supplement that.
Learning at that age is also largely tactile. Are you going to equip every home with a full suite of materials?
I don't have a problem with that, though it would require more active supervision from the guardian, which I think is part of the desperation parents are trying to get away from.
And that's ignoring the social interaction, which we've all noted is critical to development.
That's the crux of the problem with (the concept of) remote learning IMO, and it's a big problem. One I explicitly don't have an answer for. It has always been my concern with home schooling. That concern doesn't change just because I don't want to be 2nd hand exposed to your disease vectors.

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by LawBeefaroni »

ImLawBoy wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:29 pm
I have a lot of sympathy for those who don't have the privileges we do.
Or twins. I'll tell you that a 10-year-old older sister is a poor stand-in for pre-K classmates.

For the first month, I was WFH and my wife is full time at home/WFH. He still did a solo act of Lord of the Flies.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

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Anonymous Bosch wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:27 pm
stessier wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:18 pm
The title of the thread does not lend itself to discussion. It is a statement with a viewpoint on a controversial topic.
No, it's merely the heading of the relevant story being shared. Lighten up, Francis.
Better options - "Remote Learning Discussion", "The challenges of remote learning", "A take on remote learning". What would your reaction be to a thread titled "Remote Learning - the only ethical choice"? You have a viewpoint that has some merit - why do you seek to turn people off from the get go? Are you just really bad at foruming?
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by YellowKing »

Our experience so far (2 days in) is split.

My daughter, who started middle school, seems to be in the best shape. She has 4-5 1 hour Zoom meetings with her teachers per day where they get live instruction. In between are breaks, office hours, time to do assignments, etc. She's adapting very well.

My son, on the other hand, seems to be getting a repeat of the non-education he got in April/May. One short Zoom meeting yesterday, and none today. He's in third grade, and needs the one-one-one instruction far more than my daughter does, so it's frustrating. He has FIVE teachers assigned to third grade, who are supposed to be sharing duties. And with 5 teachers splitting the work load, he's had a total of 30 minutes of live instruction over the past 2 days? That's bullshit.
Last edited by YellowKing on Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

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LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:34 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:29 pm
I have a lot of sympathy for those who don't have the privileges we do.
Or twins. I'll tell you that a 10-year-old older sister is a poor stand-in for pre-K classmates.

For the first month, I was WFH and my wife is full time at home/WFH. He still did a solo act of Lord of the Flies.
While there are some benefits (particularly social) to having two kids the same age, I can guarantee you it also presents some major challenges. ;)
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by MHS »

Once again, I am so very, very thankful that we don't have school age children. I can't even imagine how much harder it would make everything. Mad props and strength to all of you muddling your way through it in whatever ways you're managing.

I saw an article today that said some country (can't remember where, sorry) was just bagging it completely and all the students would just have to repeat that grade when they eventually go back. I can't imagine what a shit storm that would cause here in the US. People in our county are already doing a campaign on NextDoor to demand portions of their taxes back because they've pushed out letting students back into schools until at least the end of September (remote learning started last week, I think.)

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by LawBeefaroni »

ImLawBoy wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:16 pm
LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:34 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:29 pm
I have a lot of sympathy for those who don't have the privileges we do.
Or twins. I'll tell you that a 10-year-old older sister is a poor stand-in for pre-K classmates.

For the first month, I was WFH and my wife is full time at home/WFH. He still did a solo act of Lord of the Flies.
While there are some benefits (particularly social) to having two kids the same age, I can guarantee you it also presents some major challenges. ;)
Oh, I believe that.

Social is just the big one wrt at-home/remote learning.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Skinypupy »

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:34 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:29 pm
I have a lot of sympathy for those who don't have the privileges we do.
Or twins. I'll tell you that a 10-year-old older sister is a poor stand-in for pre-K classmates.

For the first month, I was WFH and my wife is full time at home/WFH. He still did a solo act of Lord of the Flies.
Amen to that.

If (when) we end up doing full virtual learning this year, the Wonder Twins 7.1 are going to get awfully stabby.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Zarathud »

Sounds like Raffi is a terror and his parents need someone with training to civilize him because they are unable.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Jaymon »

In person at school has severe risk for infection among the students, and staff, and then spreading through the family and community.

Remote learning can be challenging, it depends on the student , but the younger the student, the less it seems to work, and there is severe education and development risk due to how much "school" is actually social education rather than book learning.

Home schooling taught by the parents requires a great deal of investment in time and patience from the parents, and many more resources than most parents realize.

There are no good choices going into this year. And some families don't even have the luxury of choice. Depending on the school board decisions and the family/job situations, there may be only one option.

All we can do is the best that we can with the situation we are in.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

stessier wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:00 pm
Better options - "Remote Learning Discussion", "The challenges of remote learning", "A take on remote learning". What would your reaction be to a thread titled "Remote Learning - the only ethical choice"? You have a viewpoint that has some merit - why do you seek to turn people off from the get go? Are you just really bad at foruming?
I use a bespoke, custom-designed algorithm to generate subject titles expressly intended to personally piss you off. Or perhaps, as I already explained, the title simply came directly from the commentary being shared and you're just thin-skinned and really bad at reading comprehension.
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." -- Daniel Webster

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by El Guapo »

stessier wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:00 pm
Anonymous Bosch wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:27 pm
stessier wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:18 pm
The title of the thread does not lend itself to discussion. It is a statement with a viewpoint on a controversial topic.
No, it's merely the heading of the relevant story being shared. Lighten up, Francis.
Better options - "Remote Learning Discussion", "The challenges of remote learning", "A take on remote learning". What would your reaction be to a thread titled "Remote Learning - the only ethical choice"? You have a viewpoint that has some merit - why do you seek to turn people off from the get go? Are you just really bad at foruming?
I mean, he does have a solid point that the thread title is the title of the article that he's posting and commenting about. With the article being from a respectable mainstream outlet.

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by NickAragua »

From personal experience, yes, it is a bad joke. My daughter basically learned nothing from school over the last half of the year.

But is it superior to getting killed by coronavirus?

Probably.

Now let's replace "coronavirus" with "unexploded artillery ordnance on the way to school", "snipers", "firebombing/regular deployment of chemical weapons in the general area" and "starvation" (see Syria, Bosnia/Herzegovina a couple of decades ago, Somalia, most of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc).

I guess I'm saying a little perspective is in order.

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Kraken »

The fact that kindergarten is being taught online crossed my awareness. Isn't kindergarten all about socialization? What is there to teach online? I didn't even know kindergarten had academics, except as a framework for socialization.

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by naednek »

Ethan, now a 5th grader is actually doing things on his own. He always needed a hand with assignments. This year something click as he rarely comes out asking for help. Teacher has updated grades 2 weeks in and so far all A's but one D because he forgot to hit submit. Teacher is forgiving and he should be up to a B or A when that gets graded

Lila, now a 2nd grader is the over achiever and no problems with her other than when technology messes up. She is very independent and she is thriving wiht this set up, but she misses her friends.

We keep hearing horror stories but we haven't had any issues and feel like our school\district has it figured out.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by gbasden »

Yeah, my son is doing fine so far. He's a senior in high school, and they have been doing classes at the normal time with a zoom lecture for half the period and then time to work and get 1:1 help from the teacher, as well as office hours outside of class time. My son wasn't happy with the concept of going back into remote learning, but he said it was going pretty well when we asked him today.

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by ImLawBoy »

Kraken wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:10 am
The fact that kindergarten is being taught online crossed my awareness. Isn't kindergarten all about socialization? What is there to teach online? I didn't even know kindergarten had academics, except as a framework for socialization.
It's not like there's strict grading or anything, because schools know that 5 year olds are often wildly different in their abilities. Heck, my two kids are quite different in their academic strengths and levels, and they were only born two minutes apart! Still, they do work a lot on building basic reading and math skills. They also had weekly lessons in Japanese and Arabic.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by LordMortis »

ImLawBoy wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:55 am
They also had weekly lessons in Japanese and Arabic.
Wow. I have vague memories of learning some rudimentary Spanish and French that young and that was all through Sesame Street. In Detroit (Channel 56) it was Spanish. In Windsor (Channel 9) it was French. Arabic and Japanese would have been wholly foreign and I live adjacent to the some of largest Arabic populations in the US.

Do you also learn what you can along with them or does your household also have Arabic/Japanese speakers/listeners?

That always seemed like such a missed opportunity from my locale's education. Our schools didn't work with language other than English until 9th grade.

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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by ImLawBoy »

My wife had to go along with what they were learning to help them, but it's really super basic. Learning how to say hi, bye, brother, sister, good morning, etc. I'm sure it gets appropriately more complex as they get older. And no, no one in our household speaks Arabic or Japanese. (My wife is fluent in German and knows some Spanish, French, and Italian. I took Spanish through high school and worked in food service for a while.)
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by EvilHomer3k »

Should I be shocked that someone who can't figure out Zoom or basic parenting is having issues with their Pre-K kids online learning? Should I be shocked that they are equating their one experience to a failure of the entire system for everyone? Shitty clickbait article is shitty. Shocking.

Most likely her kid was a terror in school before. The parents just didn't have to deal with it. If he's hitting people that's their fault. Not the fault of a video conference. When your kid is a terror at church do you blame church? When they hit someone on the playground is it the fault of the playground? No. That's your fault (yes, there are some niche circumstances when it's not). If he's spilling juice on your laptop, don't give him juice. Pretty basic parenting. Online classes can work for any age level if done properly by the school AND the parents. All of my kids (11th grade, 9th grade, and 1st grade) did just fine with it. No one got hit. No one cried. No juice was spilled. The author fails at basic parenting tasks and Zoom so it's no wonder they aren't doing so well combining the two. The first step is to stop blaming the technology and look for the reason your kid feels it's fine to hit others.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

In related news, here's a right-leaning op-ed that cites the decidedly un-right-leaning LA Times on the plight many minority and low-income students are struggling with due to California's remote learning policies...

Lawsuits offer minority families the best chance of returning to the classroom
Will Swaim wrote:The school year has begun for most of the state’s six million schoolchildren, but the vast majority of classrooms remain eerily silent – thanks to Gov. Newsom’s misplaced concern about COVID-19. “Science,” he says? Major scientific bodies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Centers for Disease Control, favor reopening classrooms.

While the risks of returning are minor, the consequences of closures — especially to poor and minority students — are growing more apparent by the day. The LA Times’ recent survey of 45 school districts in the region rediscovered what we’ve known all along: there’s a digital divide between wealthy and poor (generally minority) students. The Times’ study is one of those rare cases where the headline – “A generation left behind? Online learning cheats poor students” – captures the entire story.

According to the research firm McKinsey, Hispanic, black, and low-income students will lose 9.2, 10.3, and 12.4 months of learning, respectively, if classrooms remain closed this semester. The consequences aren’t just academic. For many low-income children, school is the only place to escape domestic abuse, get physical activity, and enjoy a full meal. Most California schoolchildren receive free or reduced-price lunches.

Wealthier parents have the resources to make sure their children continue learning. They can afford learning pod-style arrangements. Or they can patiently oversee Zoom lessons and supplement workbook learning. For these wealthier parents, including our public officials, virtual schooling is an inconvenience. But for low-income parents, remote learning often forces a choice between income and their kids’ education.

If conservatives or libertarians backed a policy with such racially disparate outcomes, the left-wing establishment would tar us as racist. Hilariously, teachers unions are trying to make the case that resuming classroom learning — not restricting it — somehow disproportionately hurts the most vulnerable students. If you’re a teachers union leader, you cry injustice every chance you get — even when, as now, you’re committing it. It’s just what you do.

With teachers union leaders and the politicians on their payroll unwilling to reopen schools despite this widespread evidence, California’s minority students’ best hope is legal action to force the state’s hand. This week, California’s Supreme Court ordered Gov. Newsom to respond to a lawsuit filed by a group of plaintiffs, including the Orange County Board of Education, arguing that school closures are unconstitutional because they deny kids their right to an “equal and meaningful” education.

Another lawsuit led by the Bay Area Center for American Liberty, on behalf of several families, argues that, with classrooms closed, children do not receive the “basic minimum education” required by the state constitution. The suit notes that distance learning doesn’t provide the required time with teachers – in Los Angeles Unified, for instance, teachers are required to interact with students for no more than 180 minutes per day. The suit also argues that Gov. Newsom’s system for determining when schools can reopen – based on countywide health statistics – violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.

Then there’s the lawsuit spearheaded by Sacramento school reformer Margaret Fortune, featuring 19 student plaintiffs. The Fortune lawsuit seeks to make sure schools have the funding they deserve to educate their kids when they’re allowed to reopen. The suit challenges SB 98, a budget bill signed by Gov. Newsom in June that holds school funding constant at last year’s, pre-Covid-19 levels.

This “hold harmless” provision, which ends the state’s longstanding practice of funding that follows students, punishes schools that attract students through superior education and rewards those that lose them. In practice, SB 98 defunds the state’s growing charter schools, which offer minority students the best chance to close the longstanding racial education gap that has been exacerbated by this failed virtual learning experiment.

“We are fighting the same battles Blacks have always fought: the fight for equity,” said Marcus Atkins, the father of the headline plaintiff in this suit.

Any fair constitutional reading of these lawsuits provides minority families with hope that classrooms will soon reopen with appropriate funding. The judiciary can do what our politicians will not – end the exploitation of COVID-19 by teachers unions and the politicians on their payroll.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by ImLawBoy »

It's hard to take that opinion piece too seriously when it starts out by, to be generous, misrepresenting what the American Academy of Pediatrics actually says:
With the above principles in mind, the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. Unfortunately, in many parts of the United States, there is currently uncontrolled spread of SARS-CoV-2. Although the AAP strongly advocates for in-person learning for the coming school year, the current widespread circulation of the virus will not permit in-person learning to be safely accomplished in many jurisdictions.
(emphasis in original)

Yes, they think returning to the classroom is very important (duh), but they also say it cannot be safely accomplished in many jurisdictions.

I think everyone knows that this is hitting the economically disadvantaged harder than the better off. Heck, that's a common theme in our society. We've got a litany of choices here, but all of them have some level of serious downside. This piece feels more like the author just wants to score points against liberals than really solve anything, though. Maybe I'm wrong and this author will continue to advocate for the economically disadvantaged after the pandemic dies down, though.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Isgrimnur »

I doubt Will Swaim is who you want for nuanced policy discussions.




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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

Isgrimnur wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:52 am
I doubt Will Swaim is who you want for nuanced policy discussions.
So what? As the cited lawsuits and LA Times article clearly elucidates, the consequences involved for numerous minority and low-income students are not insignificant and ought not be swept under the rug and disregarded simply because of a few unnuanced tweets from the op-ed author. Attacking and undermining the op-ed writer instead of tackling the issues he, the LA Times, and the relevant lawsuits raise is fallacious ad hominem reasoning.
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Re: Remote Learning is a Bad Joke

Post by Isgrimnur »

Physiological needs outweigh psychological needs. How are disadvantaged students helped by putting them in a situation where they may bring home a disease that could cripple or kill their caregivers?

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