Arizona’s schools are closed for the remainder of this academic year. Educators, including those in Pinal County, have worked to give students materials to study at home. It is well known that parental support is important in educational success, and that is even more important now.
To look at the full range of student environment, consider how some of them do well with homeschooling. There, the parents are the teachers. Now, some parents are not responding to school efforts to contact them. Their students are likely to be receiving little or no education. Of course, families in the most challenging socioeconomic circumstances tend to move often, and that likely is a reason for losing contact with the schools.
Arizona’s 1.1 million students have been at home for about a month. Administrators and teachers have developed programs under which the students are provided materials by computer, mail and parental pickup from schools. The students who lack online access are the hardest to reach.
In the Phoenix Union High School District, which has 26,000 students, contact has been made with 22,300 of them, according to a report in The Arizona Republic. The district has a goal of calling every student every day, which is commendable, but lacking access to nearly 4,000 of them is a problem.
Educational leaders realize that the next academic year, assuming schools can be reopened, will be more challenging than others. That is because an effort will be needed to make up lost ground, beginning with finding which students need that most. Education always faces a challenge of reteaching students who are not up to grade level standards while continuing to challenge the others. That difference will be more pronounced in the fall.
Parents and others should do their part to encourage learning by young people and realize this is not just an extra vacation. Moving past this bizarre “new normal” will be very important, once that is even possible.