HOW DO I EDUCATE MY CHILD WITH SCHOOLS GOING TWO DAYS A WEEK!!!!!

FIVE WAYS PARENTS CAN TEACH KIDS EVERYDAY

  1. Compare items costs at the store by size and value;
  2. Watch educational shows on PBS and discuss;
  3. Watch the news together and talk about the “history of today.”
  4. Make meals together to learn cooking, measurements and cleaning;
  5. Read together – find books or even articles online that interest them.

The coronavirus pandemic has created the greatest disruption of our education system in history. The pandemic has not only affected education in the United States but worldwide. It is estimated that 1.6 billion students in more than 190 countries have been impacted by school closures amounting to 94% of the world’s student population. Since there were already education disparities before the pandemic, this has affected our vulnerable youth and adults in risk areas and persons with disabilities disproportionately. Not only has this impacted their education but many children do not have access to food and supervised interaction during this time. Although the disease has brought pain and suffering to every corner of this nation, it is not just a disease that is causing the suffering that many Americans including our children are facing. It brings to light the incredibly important role that our educators play in our children’s lives on a daily basis.

Like many parents I have watched our schools rapidly deteriorate since the pandemic began. Sadly, our country seems to be completely incapable of remote education at the primary level. Perhaps the summer has brought our traditionally classroom educators new insights and they will be prepared for a fall semester of online education .  I am deeply hopeful that is the case for all of our kids. But for many of us who lack confidence,  the question arises “what our options.”  Students in the US have the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), which is guaranteed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  FAPE is a civil right that is founded in the Fourteenth Amendment that requires schools to provide students with disabilities special education. Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The right to a free public education is actually located in the state constitutions and not in the federal constitution. Each state in the US  has a provision in its constitution, generally referred to as the “education article,” that guarantees some form of free public education.  Surprisingly, the United Stated Constitution is silent on the issue of public education.  In San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriquez, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 held that education is not a “fundamental right” under the U.S. Constitution. It is left to the states.  The Nevada Constitution states:

“The legislature shall provide for a uniform system of common schools, by which a school shall be established and maintained in each school district at least six months in every year … and the legislature may pass such laws as will tend to secure a general attendance of the children in each school district upon said public schools.” Nev. Const. art. 11, § 2.

Unfortunately, the state clauses do not specify that has to be a competent education. So what are parent’s options? In researching this as much for myself as for this blog, there are several choices;

  1. Private school. It is perplexing that the private schools can exercise appropriate safety

measures as well as many universities by wearing masks, distancing and increased cleaning measures to hold classes with students and maintain safety. Unfortunately the public schools are ill-equipped apparently for this task.

2.  Actual homeschooling.  Many think that homeschooling is simply providing various, unstructured lessons to children.  In fact, as many homeschoolers are well aware, there are programs that are accredited and recognized for students to learn at home through the private sector. These programs can be purchased online with online support where students are required to do lessons every day and graded on lessons. Unfortunately, this does take a great deal of parent involvement and if parents are working this is not an option for many.

3 Community homeschool this has been successful for several years in other jurisdictions were groups of children engage at homeschool programs but rotate between their homes so that parents supervise them one or two days a week instead of five days a week to allow them to work. If you live in a tight community whether it is your church or your physical neighborhood this is a great option as it also allows parents to share the expense of the homeschooling programs which sometimes can be somewhat costly.

4. For high school students, Community College of Southern Nevada (CSN) has a great dual enrolled but program or allows high school students to take college courses online. https://www.csn.edu/high-school-programs  these programs have been available for years and if your student is going to be home taking courses online anyway it would be much to their benefit to take these courses through the college system and allow them to obtain college credits during these times.

5. There are also many private tutoring companies available that provide excellent extra instruction for kids at grade level in subjects such as math, science and English. Although these programs can often also be quite costly, even several hundred dollars a month, they provide children the extra instruction that they will be lacking from the public school system.

The question arises where will our children be in their education when the pandemic has resolved and a vaccine is released? How will our children be when Americans are able to go back to work and their daily lives?  The answer seems quite clear and that they will be behind.  Although many of our leaders are of the mindset that safety trumps education, I do agree that we cannot have safe education.  Our education system failed our youth during the spring and it is incumbent upon us as a community, a society and parents to help our children continue their education during these difficult times. 

As the pandemic has pushed the world into the largest global recession of our time, one of the consequences will be the impact on our educational system. Part of the new normal will be parents increased role in their children’s education. Although parents have always been involved in their kid’s schoolwork, this involvement will now need to surpass the occasional science projects, book reports special assignments and move into the realm of actual hands-on learning with our kids. We will all take on new roles as educators to interact with children to bring the lessons to them that they will be missing in school for the foreseeable future. For all of us it is important to remember that there are lessons in everyday life.  From adding up and comparing costs at the grocery store, to making our children think of what is a better value by ounces and cost, to reading the signs, to watching educational programs together and discussing them. There are dozens of ways to teach our children from every day experiences. I hope that what you will take away from this blog is that, for now, we all have an additional job of teaching our kids at every opportunity.

The United Nations has published a paper this month (August 2020) discussing the effects of the pandemic on the world including on our education systems and our kids. https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/sg_policy_brief_covid-19_and_education_august_2020.pdf

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