LAUSD Says More Middle And High School Students Are Getting D's and F's
Struggles with distance learning are leading to more D and F grades among L.A. Unified middle and high school students, but they still won’t be able to get back to in-person classes through at least the end of this calendar year, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner announced in Monday’s update to the district community.
“How do you best address that? Find a path to reduce COVID so schools can reopen. That’s the answer,” Beutner said in an interview with KPCC/LAist. “It's not expecting a miracle to happen when teachers are working day and night to do the best they can with students.”
In his address, Beutner said the Los Angeles area “is still well above the guidelines state authorities have set for schools to consider reopening” and with COVID-19 cases increasing in the county, LAUSD schools generally will have to remain closed through at least January, if not longer.
"As a practical matter, that means it will not be possible for schools to reopen this semester. Under state guidelines, and given the current level of virus, there is simply not enough time left in the calendar for the Los Angeles area to meet the state guidelines before the holidays."
More than 200 LAUSD schools have notified the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health of their intent to offer in-person services. They do not need special permission from the county to do so, and are allowed to welcome back up to 25% of a school’s enrollment this way.
It’s unclear, though, how schools will choose who among the many students who are struggling – students with disabilities, students learning English, students who are getting D and F grades, among others – will be offered an in-person opportunity.
“We know that decision is best made at the school level, between the teachers and principal, they're in the best place to know,” Beutner said. “And we'll leave that discretion at the school.”
A district spokesperson says so far, about 500 teachers and 200 paraprofessionals have provided tutoring one-on-one at 215 schools to “about 1,000 students.”
More highlights from Beutner’s video address and his separate interview with LAist:
ON REOPENING WAIVERS
But Beutner said 30 waivers a week countywide won’t be enough for his district, which has more than 400 elementary schools.
“If you just look across all of Los Angeles County, it would be the better part of the year before all schools could open under that waiver,” he told KPCC/LAist. “So that's not a practical solution for us.”
ON DECREASES IN ATTENDANCE AND INCREASE IN FAILING GRADES
In the video update, the superintendent showed slides that seem to indicate that schools in communities with lower household incomes have decreasing attendance among high school students and more middle school students receiving D and F grades.
He acknowledged that administrators, teachers, parents, students, are all working hard to try to make online learning work, but ultimately – he said – ”students need to be in a school where they can learn best.“
“I think that the reflex is to say, ‘Okay, what more can schools do?’ People in our schools are doing everything they possibly can. And if someone can show us anything else we can do, we can do that, too. But now, we need to take that same intensity of focus and bring it back to state and local authorities and say, ‘Okay, are we doing everything we can to reduce COVID in the community so we can get kids back to school?’”
Watch Beutner’s full update here:
WATCH: Superintendent Austin Beutner's Update to the School Community— Los Angeles Unified (@LASchools) November 2, 2020
VEA: Mensaje del superintendente Austin Beutner a la comunidad escolar. Haga clic en el botón [CC] en el video si desea activar los subtítulos en español.https://t.co/JWwE5RmkFM pic.twitter.com/SSq60u4JAK
READ MORE OF OUR ONGOING COVERAGE OF THE RETURN TO SCHOOLS:
- LAUSD, UTLA Strike Deal On Some Services For Students With Disabilities
- Survey: Students With Special Needs Are Struggling With Distance Learning, Parents Say
- What You Need To Know About LAUSD Restarting Some In-Person Tutoring, Assessments
- LA County Schools Are Making Plans To Reopen Campuses For Small Groups
- Who's Applying For School Reopening Waivers in Southern California?
- Everything We Know About LAUSD's Program To Test Students And Staff For Coronavirus
- How LAUSD's Superintendent Has Used Special Pandemic Emergency Powers To Make Fast-Track Deals