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Friday, October 30, 2020
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Anchorage schools failing at delivering online courses

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By MARY E.

I am probably not the only parent who has had enough with the Anchorage School District.

I have two students: One in immersion 5th grade and one in 7th grade middle school. I know that teachers and students are trying. However, this online classroom process has been frustrating and difficult. I have no idea what is going on, and as a single parent who works, I have no idea how I’m supposed to get this information.

I have a master’s degree from Wayland Baptist University. I have a post-graduate certificate from William James College. I am working on a graduate certificate from Capella University.

All these schools, I attended primarily online. They each have slightly different platforms (both Blackboard and Canvas). However, I didn’t have as much trouble trying to figure out what to do as I’ve had for my children’s school.

The biggest difference? My university courses understood that they were an online school, so they required all students to complete an orientation class. It was self-guided and taught me how to use the platform, how to access resources, and how to submit work.

Guess what? I’ve done fabulously and am a 4.0 student. I tried online classes through UAA and they did not provide an orientation. I struggled so much and although I passed, I wasn’t sure what I was doing or how to do it properly. The difference? UAA is a brick and mortor school offering online classes. They didn’t actually know how to do that so they failed miserably with many students. 

That is what is happening at ASD. You could provide all your online content via canvas; however, it’s in so many different areas, I can’t keep track.

My kids have Clever, Quizlet, Canvas, Zoom, XtraMATH, and what seems like a billion others that are scattered throughout the internet. How am I supposed to keep up, along with maintaining my full-time job, school, and normal parenting obligations (feed, nurture, and clothe my children)?

 I want my kids back in school full time. They are so under stimulated with human interaction that they’re having psychological problems. We have masks, but there is nothing but TV, video games, computers, and devices for me to shove at my children, that they’re out of control when I can finally be with them. They’re gaining weight and starting to become shut-ins. My oldest son who is extremely social, often doesn’t want to leave the house anymore. He’s clearly depressed, and I’m worried that by creating this situation where they never have to leave, never have to show up in person, and never have to do more than log onto a Zoom meeting a few times a week, that it is breeding psychological problems.

The Anchorage School District needs to allow parents the ability to choose to send their kids to school and set up Zoom meetings concurrent with in-person meetings. Let me choose how to handle the risk.

If teachers are willing to handle the risk, let parents decide. If teachers aren’t, then come up with another plan. I still go to work in an office and see limited clients in person. I have telemedicine sessions and in-person sessions. It’s not ideal, but it’s working, and it’s more than our children are getting.

Anchorage School District communication is terrible. I don’t have time to watch 2-hour board meetings, 1-hour airplane arms episodes about things that don’t apply to me. I need something succinct and consistent, and so do my kids.

The schools seem like they have no idea what’s going on, and the meeting schedule changes every other day for kids. They’re being asked to do everything online, but not taught how to use their school email to communicate.

I can’t even imagine what my life would look like if I had more than two kids to work with, and I’m not your typical ASD parent. Most parents have more than two kids and are struggling with income issues. If I can hardly do this, how can we expect other parents to do this? 

The bottom line is: This is not working.

Mary E. is a parent with students in the Anchorage School District. Her name has been abbreviated to protect the privacy of her family.

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  • Last spring was a contingency operation for schools in the initial stages of the outbreak.Looking at this from the outside it appears that the leadership of our public education systems failed to plan for anything. Pretty shabby considering the amount of money they burn thru.

    • You must be talking about the commish since he is running the show.

    • I agree, Brian. Not to mention the $60 million in salary that teachers are paid annually, just in the KPBSD region! One would think a teacher making on average $100,000+/yr would be better qualified to perform their duties no matter the setting.

      And why are parents now having to provide a classroom setting at our own expense while our taxes still fund this disastrous system to the tune of billions of dollars annually nationwide?

      Personally, as a parent of 38 years to current, I think many people are missing the elephant in the room: our Govt made it a LAW that we send our children to school and if we don’t give our children to them to brainwash and indoctrinate they will put us in jail and take our kids away!

      The infiltration of socialist communism into our schools curriculum has made this an unconstitutional law that violates every single child’s and their parent’s constitutional rights and should be stopped immediately, held in account for damages and immediately reformed, as it is now being used to take away our freedoms and to end America thru the minds of our children.

      Initially, education was meant to teach basic reading, writing, real math, our true history, and teaching our children to value, love and support America and our Constitution. Every classroom had a King James Bible and children studied the Word of God.

      But the current system has been infiltrated by Nazi propaganda pushing Marxist ideology, witchcraft and other religion’s ideologies, beliefs and practices that are in complete contrast to, and, in fact, against, our American values and our way of life, all the while completely eliminating our true God and His ways from ever being discussed or mentioned in school. Only heresy is allowed now.

      And let’s not forget about the hidden scourge of pedophilia that is growing more and more evident in our society.

      Our educational system must be brought back to its original mission to educate our children with basic knowledge ONLY. It is the parents’ privilege, right, and obligation to develop the morals and ethics of our own children and to produce emotionally mature, responsible, God fearing, productive members of our society. But our educational system has been hijacked by communists who are now ruling all children and parents with an iron Fist.

      We are forced to homeschool after years of being held accountable under our own govt with threat of corporal punishment to hand our kids over to strangers for 12+ years, who emotionally manipulate our kids’ minds from ages 6-18, then go broke putting them thru college to further destroy the heart and soul of America.

      Look at that result today.

      So, to me, the problem is that, for quite a number of years now, teachers are being brainwashed and indoctrinated in college to brainwash and indoctrinate our children to also brainwash and indoctrinate their own offspring, and the loop continues until education is now just a great big bubble of conflicting and contradictory ideologies that have developed this enormous Marxist vacuum atmosphere in education that is designed to confuse, coerce, manipulate, and control the minds of our innocent children in order to destroy the heart and mind of America.

      They know that if they could rule over our children and keep parents at bay, that they could destroy America’s heart and soul by filling our children’s minds with their constant nonsense.

      And now look where we are.

    • I would like to know if teachers are required by law, in Alaska, to maintain continuing education courses, the way many professions require their employees (i.e., real estate) to stay current in their field, in order for these high paid teachers to stay up to date and current in their teaching? If not, why not and how do we make it happen?

      I would hope the teachers and administrators may now realize that they are failing the entire community of each and every child by assuming all caregivers, parents and students have easy access to the internet, along with all the fancy bells and whistles that go with it, to say the least.

      It is also assumed by the school system that everyone in the household has full working knowledge and understanding of everything related to their specific online learning platforms, computers and software, and that both students and parents understand how to navigate thru those online platforms that are used in school.

      Many students do not even know how to use email and so parents are filling in the gaps of their student’s education, putting us all on a learning curve that isn’t being addressed or acknowledged by the school. Many are already falling thru the cracks of our education system, and now those cracks seem to be getting bigger with every aspect of remote schooling, and, with absolutely little to no guidance or assistance from any teachers or any school administrators.

      Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that all of the teachers and administrators, statewide, still got paid without missing a single paycheck, plus, they also received stimulus payments, while many parents are continuing their struggle to keep their homes, as they watch their savings dwindle down to nothing and with little hope of getting back on track financially.

      And so, am I supposed to believe that the teachers and administrators didn’t have the time, or the money to spend, during the last 7 months to figure out how to remote school 50-100% of their students in the fall? Like, no Plan B, AT ALL!

      Just what kind of unionized scam are they pulling on us? And why are we putting up with this!?

      No one from the school has bothered to call me to see how we are doing with remote schooling or if we need any help understanding any aspect of anything regarding their online platform.

      I think the least the schools could do is give the ENTIRE COMMUNITY regular seminars teaching caregivers, parents and students how to use the systems they require for remote schooling. At least the teachers could educate the parents to understand and teach their curriculum, since we now have to teach for the teachers.

      I feel like it is time for us, as taxpayers, to audit the entire school system by:
      1) verifying the personal credentials and certifications of each one,
      2) along with the salaries of every teacher, principal and school administrator,
      3) to evaluate their individual level of knowledge and skill,
      4) to require biannual re-certifications for the staff’s continuing education and
      5) to adjust their pay scales accordingly.

      Right now, if I were in charge, everyone would be getting at least a 30% pay cut and mandatory 4 weeks MINIMUM of continuing education every 6 months to keep them qualified to actually teach real subject matter (and not marxist ideologies and emotional commentaries favoring communism) instead of taking a lackadaisical approach to their responsibility to the future success of our children, by blindly pushing the propagandized narrative of an elite socialist leaning group of pedophile sociopaths hell bent on destroying the heart and spirit of our children in order to dismantle and kill the American Experiment.

  • It isn’t just in Anchorage. I am on the Peninsula, and it is just as bad here.

  • I fully understand.

    My download with WiFi in the village is about .0034. Snails crawl faster.

    Governor, kindly do your job. Open Alaska up.

  • Hang in there. As you found out, even a college degree online isn’t the same as sitting in the classroom. The test of the state is following ASD model so nobody truely knows how to do it in such short time. Surely you are capable of homeschooling.

  • Critical thinking suggests that administration of education (ASD) has missed the opportunity to provide effective temporary education through technology. Mary E is one of thousands of parents and educators who are challenged by the ASD system. Education outside of the Muni is not having this problem, as they are meeting in the classroom. Some 4,000+ ASD students have realized they can choose their education elsewhere and moved on to do so.
    In addition to this current ASD issue is the misguidance to promote college and not a trade. Most students do not attend or complete college. We have professional trade schools who are willing to accept students. A student can and should be able to start an apprenticeship program by the age of 14 in a professional trade school and have a journeyman status by 18 or 19. We accept “middle college / concurrent enrollment” but why do we not promote trade school / concurrent enrollment? This is real answer for our youth and Alaska workforce.
    I will represent this paradigm shift for all Alaskans.

    • I’ll tell you why they don’t promote trade schools and push college: Because college is chock full of brainwashing and indoctrinating ideologies that further the destruction of America.

      And I agree that 14 year old should be accepted into apprenticeship programs! I’m pushing my 14 year old into trade school first. If he finds a job he likes, he can go to college to continue learning so he can advance in his career development. My 38 and 31 year olds went to college and what a nightmare!! I’m worried about my 15 yo and 10 year old grandsons because my daughters were completely brainwashed in college.

      Right now, our apprenticeship programs are running low on students and our labor force is not able to fill positions of qualified carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc. because of schools brainwashing kids AND their parents to send our already troubled and confused children to college. Then the college cranks out extreme liberal leaning half wits who think socialism will actually work. Socialism is a nice way to say communism. Communism is the silent enemy of America and like it or not, we are at war.

      I am glad this unconstitutional shutdown is revealing the inconsistencies and the incompetence of our education system, administrators and instructors, which highlights their lack of due diligence.

      Don’t forget, not one teacher or government employee missed a pay day, and they also got stimulus checks.

  • No surprise here – Alaskan schools were failing their students for years now with in-person learning. It is unrealistic to expect low achieving college graduates with an education degree to suddenly become critical thinkers & develop a successful online learning platform.

    • B I N G O !

  • Just going to have to after Election Day before the teacher’s union will allow it, much like California. Seems a nationwide affliction.

  • I have two special needs children and still haven’t started school I don’t know what to do and as Mary E. Stated one of my son has gained a lot of weight from being inside all the time.
    What do we parents with special needs children do ?

    • Get your kids active. Good for the body and mind. Take them for walks. Mask up. Social distance. Where you been?

      • Thank you Greg! Unfortunately many in this day and age see only Reading, Writing, and Math as important subjects. The arts (Music, PE, and Art) are the subjects to help build a well rounded student.

    • Vocational education… important to start by age 14. Welding, engine repair, computer repair, plumbing, electricians,collision repair, restaurant skills, bookkeeping, carpentry…all avoided by school counselors. .. steering kids into a liberal arts college wasteland.
      ASD spends $20 k per kid… while trade schools like Seward Welding programs lack support.

  • I don’t know, I haven’t had that big of an issue with it. I am able to follow on Canvas with what is going on and what my son has or has not completed.

    The communication with the teachers on his assignments has been good. When I had questions I emailed his counselor and or the principal at Service High and got a response. It’s not that difficult. I am also a single mother who works about 50 hours a week.

  • Like most public employees teachers and such are using the virus to get paid for doing nothing. The harm this is bringing to students and parents needs to be rectified with a class action lawsuit.

    • You are not well informed or are just a liar.

    • Paid for doing nothing? You truly are ignorant. Try speaking to a teacher to see how many hours they put in each day. I hope you don’t really assume it’s only the parents that are having to deal with the poor decisions that the district had made.

    • Sounds accurate to me.

  • How much money do you pay ASD to educate your kids?

    • Since about half of my Anchorge tax bill goes to ASD the answer 6500$ every year.

    • Here is one example, in 2017 and in 2018, ASD paid Superintendent Deena Bishop $235,000 annual salary. Teachers, principals and admins annual salary for KPBSD in 2017 was a whopping $60 Million. That’s avg of $5 Million per month.

      If you want to know what each federal and state employee was paid in Alaska, then get the app “Open Books” and research the extortion for yourselves. It shows all salaries of state and federal employees, like city officials and UAA, too.

    • I pay $1600 to educate your kids and $6500 per year to have my kid educated.

  • Don’t worry. The Left is waiting on reopening schools until AFTER the Presidential Election. Meanwhile they continue to burn down cities, lockdown citizens, bankrupt small businesses and cause as much grief as possible and then blame it all on Trump.

    Here is the latest example:
    Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer was recorded saying the country’s largest county would not reopen its schools until “after the election.”

    The only potential fly in the ointment is that the Left is planning on screwing up the election by mailing out millions of unrequested ballots, hiring hundreds of lawyers to contest the results and then blaming the chaos on Trump. So it’s quite possible that the actual election results may not be known until 2024.

    • So the agenda is dysfunctional chaos until the election. Public sector liberal academics will destroy America unless they are given the power to bring communism.

      • Ok. First, I totally agree, but your statement is an oxymoron, thru no fault of your own, I’m sure.

        Public sector liberal academics IS DESIGNED TO destroy America and the intent is to give the power to bring communism THRU the brainwashing and indoctrination of our children.

        I’m listening to the lessons my kid is doing in remote schooling and many lessons are designed to make children question and doubt their own intelligence while subtly grooming them to accept sexual conversation as normal between adults and children in a school setting.

        Personally, if an adult mentions or brings up the topic of anything related to anything sexual WITH A MINOR, and it ISN’T their own child and/or the child DIDN’T INITIATE the conversation, I see it as pedophilia. So, if a teacher broaches topics that have any kind of sexual innuendo or connotations during a classroom discussions or any of the lessons, it’s pedophilia, plain and simple.

    • Wrong. ASD has been pushing to open lower grade levels and Special Ed in October.

  • I understand the frustration, teachers are trying and we as parents need an easier system esp with us who are working all the time, have multiple children and single parents. We are going to straight homeschooling bc I can’t handle the online issues, everything from not being able to load files, to videos not loading..and with 4 chromebooks and my laptop going it’s spool slow.

  • Are you for real? As if comparing a college course designed from the ground up to be an online course, with an orientation designed for adults to a bunch of elementary kids and teenagers is fair.

    If you are failing to understand the requirements for your kids’ education, you’re failing as a parent. Do your homework.

  • This is such an economically ignorant question. I won’t blame you, as I’m betting you’re also a product of public education.

    Bad schools are horrible all the way up and down the chain. The damage is basically immeasurable. You never know how much economic prosperity is missed-out on due to improperly shoe-horning everybody into the public high school and then university system.

  • Thank you Mary for sharing your experience. No one should be shocked about anything you wrote. Continuing to accept the status quo requires you also accept a pending educational disaster.

  • As for Anchorage specifically. The Private and Parochial schools are mostly up and open . & say they are still taking on new students. The area news medias say very little about this.
    I was by the Catholic High School on Jewel Lake last week. Students are there. Wearing masks.
    The Public schools get some 40% of their revenue form State.. Over last several yesrs,. Anchorage school district student population has fallen from 50,000 to around 44,000. I bet, that come NEXT year. The district will be down to 42,000. And could be lower. (If transfers out-of-district are afded.) The impending State $ support loss.. Will be the hammer to reopen Anchorage school district.

  • Wonderful. Sounds Ike you are working with a teacher who is doing a great job.
    Younger children require more assistance than highschoolers dealing with the programs.
    Special needs children certainly have more issues and Covid 19 is hard on them.

    Pam

  • Higher property taxes, Unions running the show, falling academic performance – Alaska is on track for Democrat nirvana.

  • The teachers I’ve talked to chuckle at the thought they are actually teaching. There’s no way for them to administer online testing, for example. This year they’re actually going to the school building to run their internet classes… and to justify their paychecks by “going to work”.

    We need to close all schools and stop paying teachers to do a substandard job until they are willing to open up to full-time, in person classes again.

    • Just as soon as it’s safe to do so they will do that. Didn’t you hear about the three teachers down here in the southeast that died and they were in the 30s and early 40s.

    • I will only allow my son to return to an actual classroom if there is no mandate or law whatsoever that says anything about masks or vaccines for COVID are required in order to return. Masks are proven to compromise our immune systems, and it is intentional that they want us to wear them because the weaker our immune system the more likely we will succumb to this “virus” and their fear porn. This is all an extreme and violent attack on our psychological and emotional makeup, coming from deranged and desperate, criminally insane, career politician pedophiles in the highest echelons of our Govt, Stae AND Federal agencies, and we are not even aware that we have been infiltrated by our enemy and are now engaged in a silent civil war. Those so called “leadets” are supporting the destruction of our entire society, our culture, and, most importantly, our children. #SAVEOURCHILDREN

    • I don’t know which teacher you have talked to, but this is simply not true. I’m a teacher in ASD, and I’ve never worked as hard.

  • Several of my kids 9th grade teachers try to keep the classes to 1/2 the scheduled time and one of them didn’t even show up for class last week (he waited online for 40 minutes). Mom and I are both degree holders and IT professionals so we understand the systems, but I’m worried the teachers not putting the effort in. It’s hard enough for the the kids, but if the teachers aren’t doing their job…

  • Mary E. I’m interested in sharing this content through William James College news feeds but would like to confirm your alumni status. Would you please reach out to me? [email protected].

  • Um, have you tried shoving a book, board game, or deck of cards at your kids?

  • ASD needs to open up schools or give the money to private schools so parents can afford to put their students in brick and mortar schools.

    It is almost impossible to have three elementary students and two of them special needs to do zoom meetings. The students lose their concentration and so tired of doing everything on the computer screen. We are going to raise a generation of children that are socially inept and basically bordering on ignorance.

    We do not need anymore people relying on government to take care of them. Please ASD open the schools up.

    • It saddens me to say, but we have already raised a generation of students like that and maybe a couple of them. If parents want to make a point with ASD, withdraw your students enrollment on count day in fact I think it’s for a week and if every parent who has a problem did that ASD wouldn’t get the money allocated for each of those students. That’s not what’s best for the district but it is something that parents are capable of doing if they have no other choice. Parents have the ability to enroll their kids and whatever school they want to and the money follows the kids.

    • In KPBSD borough, the published annual budget of salaries of all school officials, teachers, support staff, principals, superintendent, etc is at least $60 million. We have 44 schools and approximately 8,800 students.

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