Editorial: Time for school, ready or not. Much of California is not

Editorial: Time for school, ready or not. Much of California is not

Most California schools are a week or two away from the start of the school year, which will be conducted online for at least 80% of them. Yet many are still trying to hammer out agreements with their teachers unions about what the school day will look like. How many minutes of live instruction will students receive? How many minutes of recorded instruction? How much small-group work with a teacher, or one-to-one contact? The results have been all over the map. San Diego Unified students will get about 30% more live, real-time instruction with a teacher than those in the nearby Sweetwater Union district, and nearly twice as much as in Los Angeles Unified. Oakland still hasn’t reached an agreement with teachers, or fully trained them, even though it’s supposed to begin school Monday. They can’t get lesson plans going if they don’t know how much teaching will be live and how much recorded. California Gov. Gavin Newsom should have stepped into this fray with a heavy foot from the start. The Legislature, at least, set a minimum number of instructional hours — and required daily attendance and grades — but for the most part left it to school districts to decide exactly what instructional time meant. That time could mean back-and-forth among students and teachers in a live, interactive virtual classroom, which is generally considered the most effective. It could mean recording video lessons for students to view on their own, which gives both teacher and student more scheduling flexibility. Or students ...
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