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Letters: Spin can’t mask problems with distance learning; Columnist doesn’t understand Republicans | READER COMMENTARY

Spin can’t mask problems with distance learning

With all due respect to CCPS, which I’m sure toiled tirelessly this summer to write a 60-page “Reopening and Recovery Plan” for our schools, it’s time would have been better spent writing a 30-page plan on how to safely reopen schools for in-person learning.

Bureaucracies are masterful at writing plans which look great on paper, but which in reality accomplish little. Bureaucrats who work in the field of education are particularly skilled in this regard. They use pretty charts and graphs, impressive sounding jargon, and links to additional 60-page papers written by other government bureaucrats to create documents that give the appearance of efficacy, but which are really nothing more than an exercise in form over substance. No one can spin a yarn better than the bureaucrats who work in education.

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And one of the best yarn spinners for CCPS is Tom Hill, it’s Director of Middle Schools. In this Sunday’s Times, Mr. Hill is quoted as saying, “One of the things we’re trying to do is make sure the face-to-face collaboration between teachers and students is the primary difference in the way we’re doing virtual this year.” It’s classic Tom Hill. It’s a skill carefully honed over many years working for CCPS, which seems to value the ability to “spin” more highly than almost any other characteristic one may possess. It’s a skill educators use effectively to manage parents, politicians, and the community-at-large.

There are so many problems with distance learning — synchronous or otherwise. Too many to list here, and no 60-page plan is going to overcome them.

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For years, educators have been pushed to make sure every student is learning, and to customize their instruction to meet the needs of all students. To emphasize the seriousness with which MSDE views this responsibility, which is properly cast as an issue of equity, millions of dollars was spent to create a website that tracks student learning by race, by gender, by subject, as well as by students with IEPs and 504s, and then compares those results to how other students and schools are doing across the State. The website tracks a school’s performance overtime in each of these categories and assigns every school a grade depending on how well it’s doing.

All of this was done because it was recognized long ago, the average performance of a school’s students too easily masks the deficients of its most vulnerable students. Unfortunately, it just so happens to be the most vulnerable students who are the most ill-served by distance learning. That’s a fact no amount of spinning will ever be able to hide, and I fear the damage these students will suffer may last a lifetime.

Oh, well, right?

Chris Roemer

Finksburg

Columnist doesn’t understand Republicans

Robert Wack (”Assessing four groups of Republicans and the choice they face this election,” Aug 22) seems to claim he is omniscient, as he is able to know what is in the minds and hearts of tens of millions of Americans who are registered Republicans.

He writes that there are four groups of us, and goes on to describe how we think and how we act. He states of one group, “there is no act of criminality, immorality, or treason that will shake their faith in their leader.” Well, Mr. Wack, your party wasted almost a year, and about $40 million in an effort to prove two of those accusations against the president, and failed miserably on both. As to the third (immorality), I’ll call on you to throw the first stone, because we are all sinners answerable to God.

As opposed to principles espoused by the opposition party, President Trump believes in the traditional marriage and family (one real man and one real woman), the right to life for the unborn, and law and order. He believes in “America first,” saying at the United Nations, “The future does not belong to globalists, the future belongs to patriots,” and he is a patriot.

Your party, Mr. Wack, is calling for a “New World Order”, a “reset” of the way all things have been done, and will be done ... economics, immigration, education, health care, law and order, governance, and even politics (there will only be one party). And I don’t think you are going to like it if you get your way.

Steve Manning

Westminster

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