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Day 5 Remote Ramblings …School closures showing the best and worst in our leaders

Commentary by: Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO of CER

This is the headline from the WSJ for March 20, 2020:

At Schools Closed for Coronavirus, Online Work Won’t Count

Because administrators can’t guarantee all students will have access, some schools call online work ‘enrichment,’ not part of curriculum

This is ridiculous. No, it’s worse than ridiculous. This is insanity. I’m actually at a loss for words. My family and children can attest to the rarity of this situation. 

In Chicago, Administrators claimed they must do this to avoid “equity” issues and on Wednesday, days after having signaled online learning would occur, “changed course and said that teachers can grade work as long as it increases academic standing and doesn’t negatively impact a student’s grades.”

Why give anyone a chance to learn when not everyone has access, said the local union leader. 

Put another way – better 100 students fall behind than 99 of them continue to learn but one miss out. 

But are they really worried that every poor household doesn’t have a computer or internet access, or are they worried that online learning will prove to actually work, and demonstrate that the traditional classroom, may not be superior for learning? Could this crisis spark a demand for real time learning, regardless of space and place and make the traditional classroom obsolete? 

The Learn Charter Network in Chicago, which serves predominantly the lowest income students rapidly created home Learning Packets and E-Learning Tools. “  have been in constant communication, by phone and email, with each of their families to answer questions and help with any challenge a child or family may be facing.” Learn is doing

Read More …

Homeschooling mothers pitch in to help their sisters

Commentary by: Carolyn Manion, Special Assistant for External Affairs of CER

As parents and families adjust to the new normal, twitter has erupted into a font of witty memes from parents who feel at their wits end. 

While the media has often hyped a conflict between stay-at-home mothers who homeschool and working mothers who send their kids to traditional schools, the caricatures are proving shallow in light of the recent nationwide school cancellation. Homeschooling mothers are pitching in to help parents who are struggling to steer their families safely through the COVID-19 crisis while their kids experience an unbelievable routine upheaval, and those parents working from home while handling kids are gratefully joining the conversation. 

On a smaller localized scale, homeschooling mothers with online presence for their small businesses or lively instagram blogs are hosting livestream meetings to share tips, or taking the opportunity to offer free resources from their repertoire of homeschooling materials. 

On a larger scale, several homeschooling mothers are sharing their tips and encouragement in media outlets. Washingtonian covers on DMV-local mother’s advice, while a New York Magazine writer interviewed her own homeschooling mom, who had some dry humor as well as helpful insights. This incredibly helpful guide from a homeschooling mother at Vox with a sample daily schedule will set many a worrying mother’s heart at rest–whatever solution you find, you don’t have to feel guilty. Finally, The Today Show aggregated loads and loads of resources in this interview with Heather Bowen, a homeschooling mom who runs her own website Read More …

What Can Grandparents Do To Help Their Grandchildren and Vice-Versa?

Commentary by: Margie Eulner Ott, Operations Chief of CER

For the past several years, I’ve been a board member of a local aging in place village.  We organize volunteer services for our elderly neighbors so they can safely remain in their homes as they age.  The other evening we were meeting (via Zoom) about what we could do to continue to support our neighbors in the era of social distancing, and I mentioned the resources that we at CER were pulling together to support in-home learning for all of the students out of school.  One of the members got very excited: because she can’t go help her children care for her grandchildren, she saw our resource list as a great way to help from afar.  Many of the resources can also help seniors occupy their time while isolated. A FaceTime, Skype or Zoom conference call with a grandparent on a daily basis can be a win-win for parents juggling work at home, teaching at home, and worrying about a parent alone.  And finally, if families want to use this time to help their elderly neighbors, visit the Village to Village Network to see if there is an aging in place village in your town looking for help (social distance protocols in place, of course).

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