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

For all the talk of online learning during shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, many U.S. public school students will find that the work they do while at home is actually optional. It won’t be graded and it won’t count.

Some public schools are calling online work “enrichment,” not part of the curriculum, because they can’t guarantee that all students will have access to it. Students without the internet or home computers can’t do it, and special-needs students may require accommodations to complete it.

As a result, millions of schoolchildren risk missing weeks of school. Most states have closed schools, leaving more than 43 million children, in grades K-12, out of school, and some schools won’t reopen this school year.

“It’s an equity issue. If you can’t guarantee all your students have online access, nothing’s graded,” said Tim Robinson, a spokesman in Seattle Public Schools in Washington, which closed schools and plans to broadcast not-for-grade educational activities online and by TV. “Our goal is to keep the students from going into a summer slide.”

The U.S. Department of Education recently sent out information to remind educators that schools moving to online learning must comply with civil rights laws, including making sure such tools are available to students with disabilities. Some teacher unions have decried school districts rolling out online plans not accessible to all.

Read full article here.

Tawnell D. Hobbs – The Wall Street Journal – March 19, 2020.

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