In spring 2020, Los Angeles schools rapidly shifted to distance learning and parents waited on standby for weeks to receive clarity from the school district on what school would look like – how to access laptops, hotspots, online learning and class schedules. Each semester since then, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the United Teachers Union of Los Angeles worked behind closed doors to establish the learning conditions and expectations for students and families.
Parents as partners
The announcement of reopening schools was more of the same. Now with pressure from the local, state and federal government, school districts are making plans to reopen, some have already opened, yet and still African American and Latino parents continue to be left out of the conversation. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has not been a dependable nor accessible partner to parents, before and during the pandemic. Now as a deal has been made between the teachers union and the district to re-open schools, parents still have had no input.
While the most recent district survey shows split parent stances on returning, parents are clear that they want their kids to be learning in any context. In a national survey of Latino parents, 83% of families said they are worried their children are falling behind in school. A California parent poll administered by Education Trust-West confirmed a similar sentiment among parents they surveyed with 89% of families feeling concerned about their child falling behind academically.
“The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has not been a dependable nor accessible partner to parents, before and during the pandemic. Now as a deal has been made between the teachers union and the district to re-open schools, parents still have had no input.”
Parents are deeply concerned about the mental, socio-emotional, and academic impact of this pandemic and school closures on students. The LAUSD has not outlined a plan on how they will help students recover academically, support students’ emotional and mental health, and partner with parents as co-educators to ensure every student gets the individualized support they need.
These are questions that need to be answered and parents are continually being ignored, the only way students will thrive when they return to school is to make decisions in partnership with parents. Now more than ever, parents need to be heard.
Innovate Public Schools is a nonprofit community organization that builds the capacity of parents and educators working together to create excellent and equitable public schools.