Rantz: Seattle teacher cancels remote class for incredibly bizarre reason
A teacher at Eckstein Middle School in Seattle canceled her remote learning class for the most bizarre reason imaginable. She says she moved to “the forest” and lost internet access.
The story is gaining national attention now that one mother is speaking out, criticizing remote learning as inconsistent.
This is the latest challenge facing remote learning as students continue to do poorly across the country, unable to learn the same way as when they’re taught in the classroom. But there’s also a bit more to the story.
Seattle teacher cancels class as she moved to the forest
Apparently a teacher was shocked to learn that “the forest” doesn’t have stable internet access during a storm.
The unnamed middle school teacher emailed to explain she had to cancel remote learning class, according to the mother of one of her students. In the email, the language arts teacher said (in part):
I am currently living in the forest, and so when our power goes out, it is for most of the day. My internet (from a hotspot) is enough to respond to messages but not host live class.
The teacher explained the students can find the assignments needing to be completed for the day and that she can be reached via email. She recommended that everyone attend office hours the next day.
One unhappy mother
Jenny Feldman is a mother of three, and she was disappointed to read the email. She took a screenshot and posted it on Twitter. It took off from there and, the next day, she landed on FOX and Friends.
“I mean, parents are running around connecting our kids to online meetings,” Feldman told FOX News. “We’ve upgraded our internet plans and, look, I understand that a storm can knock out power and that emergencies can happen. But why are teachers not working in the school buildings that our taxpayer dollars support?”
That’s a good question. I asked a spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools.
“It is a matter of choice,” Tim Robbins told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Teachers can use their classrooms to conduct their teaching — of course, using proper personal protective equipment and following all protocols. They can choose to teach remotely from a location that is not in the school, which the majority of them are doing.”
Though we don’t know which forest the teacher is in, Robbins explains she’s in-between homes and currently staying with her parents.
Sends the wrong message
Feldman says she’s not coming forward to shame the teacher or even the school. But she does want to bring attention to an issue she says is pervasive at Seattle schools.
“This was a one time thing. Sure, maybe it sounds funny, but it’s not funny because these kids’ lives are being canceled, their sports are canceled, their schools are canceled,” Feldman told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “So it’s not me being privileged or elitist. I understand that people can have a power outage. But I also see a repeated pattern of Seattle schools putting the kids’ interests last. And so that’s why I decided to share.”
Like so many other parents, Feldman wants to see students return to an in-person learning environment in a safe and responsible way. But if that’s not going to happen, she expects schools be more consistent in the remote learning environment.
“It’s just representative. It’s an example of what’s going on and the impact that it’s having on the kids,” she explained. “And so I do think teachers could be working in the building. Taxpayers are paying for those buildings. I also think there’s other solutions, but whatever the solution is, it should put the kids first. It should maintain professionalism and consistency so that students and teachers have access to high speed internet, which is what’s needed.”
Remote learning doesn’t work
There’s ample evidence that remote learning is failing students, quite literally. In Bellevue, things got so bad that the district delayed grades. In Thurston County, nearly half of students in the district were failing at least one grade.
This isn’t just a Washington state problem, either. Across the country, schools are seeing an increase in failure rates of their students.
If school districts will force this ineffective learning environment on students, teachers need to step up and ensure they’re doing everything they can to connect with students. They should make alternative plans to teach their remote class from their actual school. If their school isn’t set up, the district should set up remote locations that ensure when someone’s internet access is an issue, the teacher can come in and teach. There’s scant risk in going to a sparsely attended building to teach a class.
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