Many people have suffered some incredible hardship over the past two years. However, the education of our young people could produce the most enduring consequences.
In the United States, like many other nations, schools were forced to use remote learning. At times, remote learning has continued in some districts without any viable reason. The impact of children being blocked from in-person classroom participation has proven disastrous.
It’s extremely difficult to unearth anything positive from this restrictive period in our children’s education. Nevertheless, the crisis has opened doors for potential changes that will prove beneficial as we gradually navigate our way out from under the pandemic.
Parents, increasingly exposed to their children’s education during school closures, are pleading for additional options to educate their children. Many public school districts across the United States are beginning to listen to the voices of these parents.
Despite the devastation and death caused by the pandemic, this would be a welcome development for decades to come. One program has been enacted in South Carolina. Parents who have the ability and the resources can homeschool their children.
It would help reduce the burden for in-person classrooms if such situations were to become more commonplace. South Carolina lawmakers envisioned the practical benefits this could have, so they introduced legislation to give parents $1,000 in tax credits for homeschooling.
If enacted by the South Carolina legislature, the program will launch ahead of the 2022-23 school year. Currently, 21 Republicans are sponsoring the bill. The proposed legislation has yet to garner any support from South Carolina Democrats.
There have been more negative statistics associated with the forced remote learning than there have been positives. In Baltimore, city school officials report that over 40 percent of Baltimore City high school students earned a grade point average below 1.0.
A paltry 21 percent of the students received a grade point average of B or higher. Another problem in Baltimore, and across the entire state of Maryland, is the manner in which school funding has been calculated for per student allotments to individual districts.
Data reveals that there are thousands of “ghost students” generating millions of dollars in wasted spending. Ghost students are students who remain on a district’s active student rolls, but for whatever reason, have discontinued seeking a public education.
Maryland schools receive roughly $15,000 per student. Estimates indicate that over 6,000 ghost student allotments were paid in 2019. This accounted for over $92 million in funding for unaccounted for students that didn’t exist.
Current Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, a candidate for governor, has suggested attaching attendance records to the allotment of these funds. Franchot, including other Maryland school officials, supports this change.
Many envision this as a way to redirect critical monies to the schools and students who vitally need them. As the world slowly crawls out from under the dark cloud of despair, there are some encouraging things happening.
One constructive outcome that cannot be ignored is the improved parental involvement in our children’s education. While the pandemic was without a doubt heartbreaking and devastating, making any such positive advances will help ease the damage caused.