The education advocacy group FaithActs for Education conducted a virtual meeting today (Monday) with Bridgeport Schools Superintendent Michael Testani to demand the district provide direct distance learning support to students and families during the coronavirus shutdown. See video conference above.
The transition to distance learning in Bridgeport has been far from smooth. The process students and parents must follow to obtain technical or curriculum support is sporadic, frustrating and ineffective. This deepens pre-existing educational inequities, sets Bridgeport children further behind and compounds the tension parents are already experiencing with schools closed.
“The coronavirus pandemic did not create the educational inequities our children face, but it has exposed them further for all to see,” FaithActs for Education Executive Director Jamilah Prince-Stewart said. “Parents are their children’s first teacher and they’re going above and beyond during this pandemic. Families are struggling to navigate curriculum and technology. They need a lifeline for support.”
Currently, students and parents must call their teachers or their schools for technical or other support in implementing remote learning. It’s a school-by-school responsibility that leaves parents with no easy source for getting questions answered.
“After completing more than 100 meetings, it’s abundantly clear: Bridgeport parents and children need more support with distance learning,” said Prince-Stewart. “The schools are really burdened enough with handling distance learning day to day. The district can take on some of that load.”
FaithActs for Education, a non-profit committed to getting children the schools they deserve, will demand that Superintendent Testani immediately provide 2 distance learning helplines:
One with access to tech support specialists to help with navigation of technology and programs used for distance learning, and
One with access to curriculum support personnel to answer and troubleshoot questions related to distance learning school work and homework.
Additionally, both helplines must:
Take calls during evening and weekend hours (Mon-Fri 12 pm – 8 pm, & Saturday 9am – 2pm)
Provide assistance in English and Spanish.