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Reader: Both Remote Learning and DPS Have Failed Students

Reader: Both Remote Learning and DPS Have Failed Students
Courtesy of Chris Christoff
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Chris Christoff has been a kindergarten and first-grade multi-age teacher in Denver Public Schools for seven years; he's been teaching remotely 100 percent since March. And in an op-ed published last week, he argued that DPS is failing its students by not providing sufficient training for teachers or planning for the students who are supposed to be learning at home.

As his piece concludes, "DPS must change course to offer support to teachers so that kids can learn successfully during this pandemic. We have seen the result of a failure to plan this past fall, and we owe it to teachers, kids and parents to break out of crisis learning and do remote learning well."

His arguments inspired dozens of responses on the Westword Facebook page. Says Janice:

The article is excellent, and the teacher who wrote it is really ahead of the curve.

Adds Sara Ann:

I agree that the problems come from the top, and the students and teachers are bearing the brunt of all of this. I do wish there was more flexibility overall with remote, and I also wish that the schools were not trying to recreate the former in-person school day by applying the same schedule to online. Being on the computer all day, every day is exhausting and not necessary at all.

Replies Jennifer:

100 percent it’s from the educational system, which is not allowing adaptation, accommodations, or grace. You cannot slop an in-person program online without huge modifications.

Comments Lauren:

A. It’s definitely district leadership across Colorado, and lazy or inept principals who take a hands-off approach but shove meetings about nothing down teachers' throats.
B. Kudos for this teacher for speaking out, but he’s also bragging and doesn’t offer concrete solutions except that other teachers could observe him.
C. Entitled parents are a problem as well, who lecture teachers instead of being solution-based.

Suggests Peter:

Remote learning, at least at the elementary grade level, is almost a complete joke. It is not worth the mental health trade-off. So yes, it is failing students. DPS, specifically, is failing students.

Agrees Ray:

Remote learning is bad for kids...says this former school admin.

Responds Chris: 

A lot is up to the parents who don’t even know how to discipline themselves, not to mention their kids, and have no idea how to teach.

Counters Mary:

Maybe stop blaming anyone...geesh! Everyone is flying by the seat of their pants.

And then there's this from Michael:

Like anything else, it largely sucks when it's new. But whose fault is that? It's clearly ours. If we had been smart at all, we would have gotten the kinks worked out of the whole eLearning thing years ago, long before there was ever any pandemic to worry about. Well, we largely blew that off and pushed it all to the back burner, figuring that we would figure it all out someday down the line. And, as it usually does, reality came along and pushed someday right up to today. We are now forced to climb up that eLearning learning curve far faster than we ever thought we would have to.

Maybe next time we are put in this same situation, we will learn to be better prepared for it. I bet we won't make this same mistake again, will we?

What do you think of remote learning? The leadership of Denver Public Schools? Post a comment or share your thoughts at editorial@westword.com.

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