AMAC In The Media / Opinion / Politics / Press Releases

Is Online Schooling During the Coronavirus Outbreak Failing Our Students?

online students computerParents and grandparents need to know and to help, says AMAC

WASHINGTON, DC – Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. more and more schools at all levels of education have been shutting down in favor of online classes due to the coronavirus crisis.  “It’s a concern for families that virtual schools may not be effective enough to serve the needs of 21st Century learners,” says Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

Students are complaining about a variety of issues ranging from technical problems to access complications to accountability and grading rules.  And, Weber worries that the short time in which schools and colleges had to establish Internet based classrooms combined with the uncertain future of the pandemic will exacerbate the situation.

“Ever since the remote learning protocol was put in place, it feels like my whole senior year came to a halt due to the lack of communication and organization at my school, and if the situation is this bad at a relatively well funded public school, I can’t imagine what it’s like at lower-income schools across the city,” according to Giuseppe Lombardo, a senior at a highly rated mid-town Manhattan high school.

Lombardo complains that online class meetings are too often under-attended, assignments are unclear and some classes have not even taken place since he was last physically in school.

AMAC’s Weber says she wonders how many youngsters don’t even have the wherewithal to purchase computers and Internet access.  She’s not alone.  An article in USA Today put it this way: “teachers and advocates worry the crisis will worsen the education gap for low-income households, even as they take steps to try to accommodate students with paper packets or loans of electronic devices.”

The good news is that there are free and/or low cost sources for computers and Internet access needed by low-income students.  “It may take some time and energy, but a good way to make some sense out of sheltering in place is to use your own computer to find those sources and pass them on to your local teaching community,” reports Weber.

For example, some states and municipalities have established programs that provide access and equipment for needy students.  Meanwhile, according to Education Week, “the country’s teachers and principals have sprung into action, distributing Chromebooks to students and sending Wi-Fi enabled school buses into their communities, teaching on Instagram ‘Live’ and hosting virtual class discussions on Zoom—and calling students and parents on the telephone to make sure they’re OK.”

At the end of the day, however, Weber points out that the burden of schooling the nation’s children must be borne by parents and grandparents who need to fill in the gaps resulting from long-distance teaching.  “We need to hone our abilities to help young students as best we can.”

She suggests that moms, dads and grandparents become “substitute teachers” and “teachers’ aides” to help their youngsters get through the new reality they face.  “Guide and support them with the online lesson plans their schools are providing via the Internet.  And, supplement their homework with home schooling assistance that is available online such as the Websites listed at Learning Liftoff, the site provides a list of such resources at https://www.learningliftoff.com/20-best-homeschooling-websites-and-learning-resources/.

In addition, the Department of Education offers an online Helping Your Child tutorial series that provides parents “with the tools and information necessary to help their children succeed in school and life.”  This comprehensive series is available directly from the DOE at this Website: https://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/hyc.html.

About AMAC  

The 2 million member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. AMAC Action is a non-profit, non-partisan organization representing the membership in our nation’s capital and in local Congressional Districts throughout the country.  And the AMAC Foundation (www.AmacFoundation.org) is the Association’s non-profit organization, dedicated to supporting and educating America’s Seniors. Together, we act and speak on the Association members’ behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at www.amac.us/join-amac.


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Debbie
2 years ago

I my opinion, this whole education system is a mess. Either send your children to school or homeschool by choice. A combination of both won’t work because parents need to go back to work. In poorer areas, parents need to care

G Schalk
2 years ago

Just let them prove to us tax payers that teaching can be all done thru the internet. We have a 44 million dollar school levy on our local ballot. Why do we need a new building when the teachers can just sit at their homes, and teach the students at their homes thru the internet? I voted ‘NO’.

no-mo-libs
2 years ago

“…and some classes have not even taken place since he was last physically in school.” – also happening to my HS senior. Some teachers are conscientious, on schedule, with home work. Some are not. I know cause I get updates from my son. This summer, schools must survey student and get their take on ‘class interactions’ for the period. Teachers must then be evaluated. With 20/20 hindsight -the PBS/CSPAN channels should be appropriated for schooling should the need arise. These are US taxpayer funded and should be used for the benefit of the taxpayers….and not to push the TV host’s opinions.

B Rogers
2 years ago

I am a teacher at a private Christian school blessed with an administration with foresight. They put into place a schedule using Google Classroom. We had to undergo quick training. But we have a wonderful, encouraging team. They put in place a support team, and we all share ideas. All classes are recorded, and leadership joins classes to observe us so there is accountability. Attendance is taken. We post assignments and grade them.
Parent surveys are taken to make sure we are meeting needs. We have an IT team in place to handle computer issues. It takes effort and commitment and resources, but it can work.

Donna Nuce
2 years ago

As a parent who home schooled my daughter for 2 years (to help with her dyslexia), it relies on the parents to do the right thing. It is not easy and parents must be dedicated to doing it. That said I don’t think a few months home with parents is going to hurt a child. Schools will have to do “catch up” this fall. Maybe set up some summer school programs after we open up the economy again.

Joanna Johnson-Smith
2 years ago

Why does anyone NEED online guidance? We all know how to work from textbooks and teacher/parent handbooks. We learned without the internet before, we can do it again! In fact, it’s easier and far less frustrating. Americans have become dangerously helpless and dependent over the past 20 years and it’s ridiculous!

Chris
2 years ago

I have homeschooled my children for 16 years. Two have gone back to home schooling for their college classes. No problem. Parents are ultimately responsible for their children’s education. Most children finish their public school assignments in and hour and a half per day. Parents will finally see how much time is wasted in public schools.

Dianne
2 years ago

I would respectfully say that it is the parents who are the primary educators of their children and the teachers in the school systems are their “aides”.

Roz
2 years ago

I believe that the parents that now have to home school are going to be appalled at what public schools have been teaching their children! It is about time that parents know how public schools have been indoctrinating their children! It is time to wake up people.

Michelle
2 years ago
Reply to  Roz

Exactly and that is why we homeschool!!!

Brad
2 years ago

Seems like some districts have shot themselves in the foot and planned for failure instead of success. To think that you could still have daily online classes with K-12 students is totally unrealistic. To think that you could still assign the same amount of homework is totally unrealistic. The more I read comments here, the more I appreciate my district. We already had laptops for every student, but we were instructed to give only 50% of the regular homework or less. (Homework, not class time.) Many of us have been giving 15 minute assignments. Wifi school buses come to the school everyday to give access to those students who don’t have it at home and to pass out free breakfast and lunches. We have to fill out a report everyweek on which students we had no contact, what students were participating in distance learning, and what students needed homework packets to be picked up because of no internet. In our school of around 850, there are only around 12 students now with no contact and most are doing their work. Is the shut down hurting our students? Well, of course it is, but what can you do when the state government shuts you down?

Clarice
2 years ago

I think it depends on the district and each individual family. It also depends on whether Internet access is available. Somehow our government cannot understand that not every area of the country has 24 /7 Internet access available. And Internet access is expensive not all families can’t afford that. My state government has discovered we don’t have a good Internet available as they thought we did. They sent the majority of their workers home to work from home and required all the other businesses to move as much as possible to have workers work at home. Bingo, what happened. Response time is so slow that workers are major frustrated. The government buildings have a faster stronger Internet service available to them than a private home. And everything is Bob down. And believe it or not many families still have only one computer for everyone to share. If students have to be online learning they each have to have their own computer and this puts undue financial stress on any family with more than one child. And then the parents are supposed to be working up from home also. This was not a well-thought-out idea. I think it is probably working well for those students that our board having to listen to the teacher repeat the same thing over and over not just one day but the same thing the next day too. Some of them are probably done with the whole days work in about two hours. In the no Child left behind movement they’ve lost the attention of many other students because the learning progresses so slowly that there’s more they can’t even begin to keep track of what’s going Their mind is wandering and they’re thinking about all kinds of other things. And even for public school success the students have to have support at home and sadly, many do not.

Kelly Hughes
2 years ago

Many have missed some of the most important aspects of being home schooled. Number one, for a lot of students, NO HAZING/BULLYING! Another benefit to America is that the upcoming population of citizens represented by today’s students are now able to learn How To Think instead of being told What To Think. Family members are communicating and joining in the learning experience. Kids can now learn some survival basics like how to balance a check book; how to fill in an application for anything such as a driver’s license; job; insurance, taxes, etc. Sports and social life have their place but are not the things that will sustain most students in their adult life. Public Schools have been high-priced baby sitters for too long.

Bernice McDonald
2 years ago

I am blessed to live in a PA school district who initiated cyber teaching 8 years ago. Each child K-12 have school issued laptops. Parents and Grandparents have been made very familiar with their use. The children of our district missed only one day of instruction this year despite COVID 19! My grandson, on the autism spectrum with ADHD, is 12 and was experiencing a great year transitioning to the Middle School when the school closure hit. This hasn’t stopped his progress He’s maintaining a 3.66 QPA with the online support of his teachers, parents and grandparents. I realize this is ideal and can’t happen globally but it would be great wouldn’t it/

Thetruth
2 years ago

Capitalism is evil. The government knows what is best for you.

Thetruth
2 years ago

Now the parents may actually see what garbage the public schools actually teach. Hopefully they’ll pull their kids out of the social indoctrination of lies!!! 5 pillars of Islam-they follow the same God as Jews and Christians, we evolved from apes, God made gays that way, etc.

Ivan Berry
2 years ago
Reply to  Thetruth

Thetruth, they may at last see what schools teach, and how, including indoctrination. This may have some positive effect should parents get more involved, what?

David Brollier
2 years ago

“She (Rebecca Weber) suggests that moms, dads and grandparents become “substitute teachers” and “teachers’ aides” to help their youngsters get through the new reality they face.” Beginning in the 1960s with the removal of prayer and the Bible in schools the role of parents have been trampled upon, neglected, or outright deemed unnecessary, something that many teachers find a huge obstacle in teaching. That’s almost 80 years ago, and during that time we’ve seen an increase in drug abuse, teen pregnancy, violence, especially school shootings, and recently we have kids having kids. Of course they’ve been fed the same poison that began back in the 60s, so they don’t think they have to work, but believe society owes them. Some of them are parents in name only. They really don’t care about their child’s welfare. They expect the school to take care of that for them. And now you’re telling them that to succeed you need their help? While that may be true, the sad part is you may have pushed parents and grandparents too far away to give kids the help they need. The educational system must ALWAYS include the parents, and to include the parents you have to re-establish the home so the children have two parents, not one going off with mom and another going off with dad. A boy needs a father and a mother, and a girl needs a father and a mother. They don’t need 2 daddies or 2 mommies. Rebuild the family unit. Then call for help from the parents and many, not all, of those parents will respond favorably. As it is you’re words are lost in the wind.

Jean
2 years ago

Do we really believe that those parents who have shunted their children off to paid caretakers from the time the kids are born will active participants in their child’s education? Or that parents who themselves are poorly educated will be there to motivate those kids to continue learning without the structure of a classroom? I’m no fan of public education, but the reality is that many of today’s “parents” have zero parenting skills, and have always depended on a surrogate in the form of a government agent or agency to raise, train, feed and educate their kids. The blessing here? Those parents who are involved will finally get to see the PC claptrap that their kids are being fed in public schools, and may be able to counter it. They may also get more involved in selecting school board members and be a bit more vocal with regard to curriculum choices.

HAROLD
2 years ago

There is nothing wrong with home schooling, if the parents/guardians, are involved. Kids will not apply themselves if they aren’t encouraged by their caretakers. I have had grandchildren that were home taught and went on to college and into their adult life with little problem.

Eileen Jennings
2 years ago

A lot of families have successfully home schooled all the way through some college courses and the numbers support the success of it. This is nothing new and it can be done, but it requires dedication to learning. Many people home school for a variety of reasons, it is nothing new. There are a lot of successful people, famous people even some of our judges have been home schooled. We did it without a computer at first, it was a lot of hard word, we made use of our local library and they loved it, our students were doing college level work by the time they were in 8th grade. The local library stated home schoolers were the ones that got the borrowing system going well and they loved that because they got to see a lot of books they would not have gotten to see otherwise.

John Karkalis
2 years ago

Dedication and discipline are crucial for this to work. I fear these qualities are too often lacking, unfashionable.

Connie
2 years ago

My daughter has 3 young children, ages 8, 6 and 3. She paid for a reasonably priced private school. She works full time for an insurance company. Now, she used to be a high school teacher, so she has some training; but imagine the distraction of 3 little kids running around all day while she attempts to do her job from home. Her husband is often absent and of no help when he is home. He is also a relatively new legal immigrant from Peru, so would be no help in teaching the children. After working, cooking, cleaning and taking time to discipline, my daughter is now expected to give quality teaching time to her two older children. Clearly, there will be something lacking in their education because of all of this. I live in another state and am also still going to work, so grandma can’t help. You see, mom, dad and grandparents pitching in as substitute teachers isn’t always an option.

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