School District, Federal Government, Khun Die discussed on Press Play with Madeleine Brand
W I'm Madeleine brand as current virus cases surge again here in L. A county. Frazzled parents have one question. Will my kids go back to school next month? And l'll ust still does not have an answer for them. Here is Superintendent Austin Butin earlier this week. No decision has been made about a return to school facilities, but it's reasonable to assume instruction will include an online component for most students. School is scheduled to begin on August 18th. So just about a month from now, joining us now to discuss this is Howard Blume, Education reporter for the Times. Hi. Hey. So on August 18th. What's going to happen? Does anybody know? I don't think so. To be honest, The big development this week was this so called top secret call between the county public health director and school districts across the county, saying that they all need to be prepared for possibly going 100% with online learning based on the spike in the Corona virus in Los Angeles County. That's a pretty startling right there. And the truth is, this situation is changing Day by day, and I spoke with school board president this very morning shortly before we got on this call, and he doesn't know what's gonna happen. He's feeling that if they know by August 1st That would be a good thing I feel for parents in this. It's just in an anxious time. This only adds to the anxiety that everybody's feeling that they don't even know how to plan. They can't know how planets Yeah. I know Well as a parent myself, oven l'll ust child. I feel the pain. I have no idea what my kid is going to Dio. I have no idea what I'm going to do with him in the house. So What is Bel ust planning? If it is 100% online, do they have the resource is now because When this first started back in March. It was a bit of a scramble. It wasn't gonna be a scramble, so they have enough computers. They think they have been of hot spots. What they don't have any control over are the conditions in the home. Parents are not trained to be teachers or Proctor's exam proctors so you can have a computer set up a home, you can have been Internet hot spot. You may not have a good environment to study. There may not be the right supervision for the younger kids. They need that social interaction actual face time I spoke to a special education teacher and she talked about this student was actually pressing his face into the cute computer monitor because he was so desperate to have contact with his teacher, and so this is not This is not an ideal situation by any means, but you're not going to die. If you do education this way. This was a big message First. This is not the fault of l. A unified I mean, we could beat up on them for many things, but it's It's not their fault. They had to become an online school district overnight over the summer. They've tried to add some Grated courses because you recall they essentially removed grading fromthe spring semester. So they're trying to use this summer to kind of feel what it would be like to push things forward more effectively in an online manner that there'd been some glitches, but presumably, they're getting more and more practice all the time. It's never going to be As good as traditional school. But on the other hand, I guess you're not going to die here. Not going, Teo Teo much I will die. So what about? Are they looking at other models like New York City, for example, which is going forward with a plan for a few days at school? A few days? Not at school, things like that. Well, that is the planet. That has to be the plan under the health guidelines because classrooms are not big enough to accommodate all the students with social distancing So under the current health guidelines, there is literally no way that you can open in a traditional way. And if you can't get all the students into the classroom, then you have to have a staggered schedule so that students come into the classrooms in waves as it were, And that means There are additional childcare burdens. Ongoing childcare burdens for parents is people trying to get back to work? You know, New York is a very dense place so they may have worse problems in Los Angeles, at least in Los Angeles. You conducive innovations like holding some classes outside because the weather is better. So there's there's things you could do that might make it a little easier for us in New York, But by and large, we're looking at a staggered schedule in part time on campus. What are the teachers unions saying about this? Are they holding the district's feet to the fire and saying, Look, if it's not safe, we don't want to come back and teach. They kind of are, But I don't necessarily think that the school district is in great disagreement. They don't particularly want to bring people back if it's unsafe, either. I mean, if you're an economist, or if you're the Trump Administration, you khun Balance, thes plus minus equations, right? Well, what's the cost of a few teachers dying or a custodian dying? If you're a teacher's union, you're not in a position where even one teacher Khun die or a library and you have to have a zero tolerance policy. As you represent your employees on Fara safety risk goes, so that's going to make them Uh ah. Hard bargainers and these decisions to reopen. These are district decisions or can the state come in and override and say you're opening or you're not opening The state can say you're not opening. I think it's a little harder for the state to say you are opening. I mean, First of all schools will be open. Any education purpose will be on its a question whether campuses will be reopened, and I suppose the state could exert the power of the purse if they wanted to. Force camps is reopened. But that seems very unlikely. I think they're going to let School district. Choose how they want to engage in learning. But there are new rules in place that the state hopes will make sure that learning takes place because in the spring there is a free pass. I mean, I want to say this too harshly for the state was saying, this is an emergency. We're not gonna hold you to any standards of accountability. You are not required to make sure that students learn you are not required to take attendance. Now they're saying you, Khun do this the way you have to do this, But we do require that you take attendance. And we do require that you show evidence of student learning. So that's kind of where the differences in terms of this state right now, and are they saying that money is contingent upon that Well, I suppose they are, but they're not really counting on doing that. At a certain level. Everybody wants learning to happen. Basically school districts. We're pretty much on board. They're going to find some way to take daily attendance. They're going to try to improve their learning accountability. I don't think anybody's intending to buck the system. So nobody's really expecting this state Ted Levy any kind of financial penalties now the federal government may threaten to live. The financial penalties. In fact, President Trump has already done so There's a question about whether he has the authority to do so are the ultimate willingness to do so is at the same time the federal government. Other people in the Trump administration are talking about. Giving schools more help to help to assist in Rio openings. S O. If there's any money not gonna happen, It's gonna be from the federal government, which is responsible for about 10% of funding for schools. That has a lot of money in terms of your operations. But even that one has to wonder if that would really happen. I do not expect that to happen at state level well. Talking about the funding aspect of this is pretty overwhelming. It's gotta cost a ton of money to retrofit the schools to put in plastic barriers, if need be to look at the ventilation system and make it safer. Well, just the ventilation system alone almost seems hopeless. I suppose there's nothing magic about the August 18 date. I mean, if you're in l, a unified, you know very well that that's the day school's supposed to start. But that doesn't mean that's the date where you flip a switch, and everything is about either back to normal. Or even back to this hybrid schedule. You really could see Where they might begin on online only is because they're just not ready and then roll into Ah hybrid schedule gradually school by school or great leveled by grade level. Because there's really no imperative that they have to do this foot The switch on August 18th. They just have to start school one way or the other on August 18th. You know when they're ready, they're ready. And when they're not,.