Almost immediately after the Madison School District joined other districts across the country in announcing a return to online instruction instead of bringing students back to the classroom for the fall semester, posts started popping up on Facebook groups, Craigslist, Reddit and the University of Wisconsin-Madison student job board seeking in-home academic help.
Parents taxed by trying to do their own jobs from home while monitoring their children’s school work are looking for tutors, nannies, even retired teachers to help them navigate what could be several more months of virtual education.
“I think one of the important things that everyone needs to understand is right now, parents are in just an untenable position, all the way around, every parent,” said Madeline Hafner, executive director of the Minority Student Achievement Network Consortium at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.
Many families are teaming up with neighbors to pool resources and form “learning pods” for the school year. But research indicates when families can afford to do so turn to tutoring and educational services in their homes, it can affect the academic success of all students.
Mike, who asked for his last name to be withheld, was initially considering forming a learning pod with a small group of neighbors and hiring a teacher to help with virtual learning through the 2020-2021 school year.
But now he is planning to take his children out of MMSD and renting a house in Columbia County where he can send his children to in-person classes before returning to Madison next June. Otherwise, his family will adopt “some sort of home school curriculum.”
But if it’s hard to figure out, then the least privileged families — the ones the experts are supposedly so concerned about — will be impaired in doing what they might be able to do on their own to close the achievement gap. The experts are working hard to drive home the message that you can’t do it, that your kids are losing out, that you need the public schools, and that those other people over there — the privileged people — are taking advantage again and their advantage is your disadvantage.
IN THE COMMENTS: ellie said:
I am a homeschool mom who normally utilizes a cooperative. We cannot meet in our building this year due to covid. I’ve set up a “pod” in my home. It was easy. All the moms got together and talked over what our kids needed for the year, then we divided the classes. Each mom took what they were good at or could reasonably handle. No money involved at all for us. We set a schedule for 2 days a week, and the other days, work is assigned for home.
“Teachers have access to materials in their classrooms that are not available at home,” – despite million$ spent on Infinite Campus