SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Thousands of Sacramento City Unified students are set to return to distance learning Tuesday, but exactly what that will look like is still up in the air.
Despite bringing in a mediator, the teachers union and the district still have not agreed on a distance learning plan and parents say they feel caught in the middle.
Issac Pearson, a seventh-grader at Martin Luther King Jr. K-8 School, already feels behind on his studies two days into the school year. According to Pearson, most of his teachers did not show up for online classes last week.
“Honestly, it’s been rough… it’s hard,” he explained.
His mom, Teresa, feels stuck in the middle of the district and the teachers union Zoom battle on how many teaching hours are online.
“At the end of the day you are adults, figure it out for the students. We have had since this pandemic, seven-eight months, for them to come up with something, why are you not,” she said
On Tuesday, the district implements its minimum online hour approach, while the union plans to continue learning hours on a case-by-case basis. The district decided to move forward over the weekend to provide direction and sent a cease and desist letter to the teachers union, asking members to stop ignoring their plan, saying it is an attempt to create confusion for students and families.
District superintendent Jorge Aguilar slammed teachers Monday for refusing to accept the new instruction plan.
“That is going to create confusion and inconsistency, we cannot have alternative schedules across the district,” Aguilar said. “We have an obligation to our families, they have a constitutional right to a free and public education and we take that very seriously.”
The SCTA says there should not be a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to screen time and recording, given the individual needs of the 42,000 students there.
“The district is trying to intimidate teachers into not implementing our agreed-upon schedule and plan,” said David Fisher, a representative for the Sacramento City Teachers Association.
Daniel Conway has four kids in the district and believes the disagreement between the union and district is hurting students.
“I think parents are feeling helpless and voiceless in the face of oncoming chaos,” he said. “It puts parents in an absolutely impossible position. Parent’s top priority is their kids and education and right now we don’t even know when school starts and when school ends. It couldn’t be more frustrating,” Conway said.
Conway is calling on district parents to take their power back by urging them to log their kids offline for a day. He hopes if parents boycott, they will force the two to come to a resolution.
Sacramento City Unified and their teachers union are at odds on distance learning. A number of parents tell me they are fed up and their students are suffering. Parent @danielconway wants families to boycott for a day and force the two to come to an agreement. @CBSSacramento pic.twitter.com/yMscV0Fx4J
— Velena Jones (@velenajones) September 8, 2020
“If we pick a day and give them a deadline, they should be able to get this done. Because every other school district in our area has been able to get this done,” he said.
Several parents have expressed their willingness to join in on boycotting, in hopes it will send a message to the district and union.