Stop attacking Connecticut teachers and listen to them
Here we go again, another attack on teachers.
When educators dared to stand up for proper working and learning conditions, it was recently labeled as “unfair deals” on this page.
Ridiculous. Educators were working on better teaching and learning conditions as early as Jan. 19, raised the issues at a public hearing in March, and lawmakers publicly debated the issues on the House and Senate floor. We are interested in the facts, not the distortion of the real issues.
Unfortunately, there are anti-public school extremists who peddle misinformation to promote a bad idea called “dual education.”
What is dual instruction? It involves having a single teacher teach a class of school children online and in person at the same time. It’s the kind of fractured teaching that makes school ineffective, especially for high-needs students and English learners. As Education Committee Co-Chair Sen. Douglas McCrory said in the Senate when discussing this bipartisan bill, “It’s not working, folks.” McCrory, who is a career educator, said, “I couldn’t serve two masters. I cannot serve the children in front of me and at the same time provide quality education to those at home.
He is right. Imagine this: you are teaching a class of children, some of whom need individual help, one who is not on task and one who needs a pass to use the toilet. Meanwhile, two kids online are having connection issues, one forgot to mute while his dog barks and three have their video turned off. Result: No one learns.
So why are some extremists pushing this bad idea? Silver. Their pretzel logic is to block as many students as possible in a classroom, block more online, and wipe out public school budgets. They know it doesn’t help students learn; they should know it hurts. And who benefits? The wealthy few who seek to extract public money from schools in privatized hands. Then they criticize the teachers union when we do our job to protect educators, public schools and the learning process. Bad practices should be banned, and I guess some take offense when lawmakers listen to educators on the front lines.
This is not to say that distance education, when not divided and fractured with live instruction at the same time, cannot provide certain benefits. I serve on the Remote Learning Commission to explore best practices with leaders across the state, including superintendents and Board of Education members. We agree that failed aspects, such as dual instruction, must stop, and instead we should support student learning by using technology in sophisticated and thoughtful ways. Dual teaching does not meet this standard.
Educators have learned a lot about distance education during the pandemic. It was really an experience for teachers and school children. Dual instruction has left children disengaged, especially children with limited English skills and children from low-income communities. And you can take my word for it, because unlike salon pundits who take a stand and play politics with education, I actually taught in a dual teaching model and I know firsthand that this is not was not effective.
Let real experience and expertise guide us, not rhetoric.
Kate Dias is president of the Connecticut Education Association.