October 25, 2020

One Size Learning Does Not Fit All

Posted

I know I am not the only one struggling with distance learning and so recently have decided to remove my child from the district. It was not an easy decision for me. I’ve spent my whole life in Rehoboth, attending Rehoboth schools. Distance Learning has proven a struggle for my daughter and family as well as the children and families on my caseload. I can only speak for myself but I have tried to limit screen time for my daughter, and now we are expecting our children to be on screens all day. This was just one of the things that did not make sense to me, so I made the decision to remove her.

With so many districts going back to school even on a hybrid model, it would only seem to make sense that we can do the same. Why wait for the CDC to figure out more numbers? Other districts did not. Why wait and see how many struggle with fully remote to start? Other districts did not. Why not give families a choice to go hybrid or fully remote? Other districts did. This wait and see approach was not something that I grew up with in this town. This town had leaders that did not let a few judgements overrule the majority. The elected officials did what was best for the people in the town.

Elected officials in town are supposed to stand up for the majority. They are supposed to do what is best and not be swayed by people who are pushing back to assert certain opinions. Doing what is right for the families is not easy, and may cause some people to dislike choices officials have made. They cannot make everyone happy. But that is the job that our officials took an oath to do.

What we can do is give families a choice! A choice to go back in person (whichever way that pans out) or stay fully remote. Fully remote was always an option, so those families do not have to speak up like we must. The reason families who want their children to go back to in person learning are finally speaking up is because we are fearful this will not happen. We want the District to give parents and teachers options. Teachers have been given an impossible choice: take a leave, get another job, try to get one of the DL positions. What can be done to lessen the fear factor so that more coherent and resonant decisions can be made? The fear is valid: losing their job, being judged and possibly ostracized. This is NOT ok. Teachers should feel free to have a voice.

This is where I want the SC to provide an individual choice for individual needs (like the SC stated at the beginning). Give families and teachers a safe place to say, go back to in-person school. Give the same families and teachers the choice to say we want to be remote. Take the numbers of teachers and children for in-person and remote and plan accordingly.

We are living in a world where no one size fits all, yet that is what our School Committee and District Administration are forcing upon us. Can Rehoboth and the DR School District please get back to being leaders and not followers? If, for nothing else, to show the students in this town that it is ok to stand up for what you believe in, while still being kind and non-judgmental for other’s choices.

Katie Ferreira-Aubin

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