The following is a press release.
BOSTON _ The Massachusetts Teachers Association today expressed support for the remote learning guidance released this morning by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
“The guidance reflects the priorities of our members, which we conveyed to the commissioner in our discussions about how to make educational opportunities work during this extended shutdown,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy.
Najimy said that the MTA worked closely with AFT Massachusetts to make sure educators’ priorities were addressed in the guidance.
Najimy added that local school districts must listen to educators and negotiate memoranda of agreement with their local unions in implementing remote learning plans.
As spelled out in the guidelines, she said, these plans should adhere to the following principles:
- The highest priority is to support the emotional and physical health of students, parents and educators.
- Since we all acknowledge that there is no way to remotely replace or re-create what happens in our public schools, remote learning must be understood broadly. This includes going well beyond reliance on technology and involves embracing creative approaches to learning developed by educators in conversation with one another.
- District MOAs must establish reasonable parameters for remote learning that allow for flexibility for our educators and their students and families. This means not expecting all educators and students to be working during set hours and not expecting students to be covering all of the content that would usually be taught during this period.
- Districts must address the learning needs of high-need students, including not assigning projects that cannot be completed by students who do not have access to required materials, technology or adult support. Particular attention must be paid to the needs of low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities and English learners.