Justice with scales

L.A. Parents Sue Their District Over Remote Learning. Will Chicago Parents Follow?

Yesterday afternoon, a group of Latnix and Black parents in Los Angeles announced they have filed a lawsuit agains the Los Angeles Unified School District. The parents claim LAUSD’s remote learning plan falls short of providing students what they need to learn. You can watch the conference–and hear the heartbreaking stories the parents shared regarding inadequate support for parents and too little live time for students with their teachers–here.

Here in Chicago, the remote plan is different. While these LA parents argue that the district is providing too little live time with teachers, at yesterday’s Chicago Board of Education meeting, parents argued that the Chicago remote learning plan demands too much live time and lacks flexibility:

Angela Habr-Paranjape, executive director of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, which is running a remote learning support program for about 50 South Side students, echoed the concerns.

Privately, I have heard from many CPS parents, especially of young students (preK through fourth grade), who are saying that the screen time is excessive and that kids would be better served to be interacting with each other and completing projects off-line, then coming back on a Google Meet to share their work.

Chicago parents are giving their schools and teachers a ton of grace right now and mostly keeping their struggles out of the public eye. I wonder how long they can keep up the pace, and what happens when their energy gives out? Will parents here get frustrated enough to sue?

I hope we can find a better way to handle remote learning, one that meets children where they are developmentally and incorporates projects and collaboration. I know some teachers are working hard to find a way with this. Here’s hoping we can bring some of those stories to light soon.

Photo credit:  Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash.

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Maureen Kelleher

Maureen Kelleher

Chicago Unheard blog manager Maureen Kelleher also serves as a senior writer and editor at brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists demanding a better education and brighter future for every child. Before joining the brightbeam team, she spent a decade as a reporter, blogger and policy analyst. Her work has been published across the education world, from Education Week to the Center for American Progress. Between 1998 and 2006 she was an associate editor at Catalyst Chicago, the go-to magazine covering Chicago’s public schools. There, her reporting won awards from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the International Reading Association and the Society for Professional Journalists. A former high school English teacher, she is also the proud mom of an elementary student in the Chicago Public Schools. Find her on Twitter at @KelleherMaureen.

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