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Missouri legislators express concern about effectiveness of remote education

Several Missouri leaders are concerned about the impact of remote education on students. The Subcommittee on Appropriations — Education shared their message to a group of Missouri K-12 education officials this week.

“I can’t imagine a middle-schooler being at home alone and trying to think about how they are supposed to self-motivate and get connected,” said Rep. Brenda Shields, R-St. Joseph told the news agency , Missourinet. “When you can’t get a hold of a parent to be a partner in this educational event, it’s just really hard. We need to take some action now so that next year, we’re not saying, ‘What are we going to do with 30 10-year-olds that are clear across the spectrum?'”

Shields, who is married to Missouri Board of Education President Charlie Shields, wants the state to look for ways to help schools connect with these students. “I know that there are some districts that have much more engagement than others, but we’re probably at 20 percent of kids that we’ve lost and we can’t afford to lose these children,” she said.. “We’ll be paying for it the rest of our lives.”

Kari Monsees, deputy commissioner of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Deputy commissioner, said the department has focused on preparing teachers and leaders to deliver education during the pandemic.

Across the state, teachers are commenting on how ineffective online learning is. Many education experts say young elementary children, especially from low income families, may never recover academically from the loss of in-class learning.

“The actual transaction of connecting that school setting to the home setting is always a difficult one, especially when they are not coming to school every day if there’s not a bus bringing them every day,” she said. “In many cases, these are families who chose to do a virtual option –- it wasn’t something that was forced upon them. So that is the challenging part for the school –- the parent made this choice for their family and yet they are not forcing, or reenforcing, the need to be engaged and involved.”

Shields said teachers are doing tasks they did not sign up to do, like juggling to educate a group of kids in a traditional classroom and a group of students doing distance learning, adding to an already sizeable workload. She urged the department to dig deeper

“What program can we put together to help our schools?” she asked. “The teachers that are doing all of this, really shouldn’t be expected to go knock on these doors.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice