Monday is the first day of instruction for Oakland Unified School District, but after a month of discussions to sort out the details of distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic, teachers and administrators still have not agreed on a plan.
“We’re all hearing from families that what they want for their students is more small-group work,” Fruitvale Elementary Teacher Bethany Meyer said. “We do agree on that. We just have different ideas of how to teach it.”
Meyer said the district wants them to teach both large and small classes, but that would not leave teachers enough time to communicate with families, collaborate with colleagues or conduct the planning needed to provide high quality distance learning.
“Our idea is, because we have so many credentialed substitutes and retired educators, that they could be brought in to facilitate some of the small group work,” Meyer told KCBS Radio. “And, there’s actually some state funding that would pay for that.”
Meyer added that some, but not all, families are ready for distance learning.
“The district still has not made technology available, or they don’t have internet or they’re in crowded conditions,” Meyer said. “Some families are working multiple jobs outside the home and distance learning is being overseen by a teenage sibling. It's very challenging for a lot of our families.”