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Baltimore County Public Schools deserves failing grade for pandemic response | READER COMMENTARY

The Baltimore County Public Schools
The Baltimore County Public Schools (Ulysses Muñoz, Baltimore Sun)

I know that these times are difficult for all families given the COVID-19 pandemic, and maybe I should just be happy that my family is safe. However, I have to state that I am appalled at the Baltimore County school system’s handling of this pandemic (“Baltimore-area districts set last day of school after state reduces required days,” May 28). I have witnessed their actions firsthand as I happen to reside with my daughter and her four children, three of whom are in elementary school.

Initially, the school system was supposed to send out weekly packages of school work. One of my grandchildren got the packet after the first week, one got it after the second week and the third child did not receive it until three weeks after he was supposed to start. My daughter was then told to ignore the first week and that the second week was optional. She was later told by some teachers that they would be graded on all those packets and other teachers would not be grading on those packets. There is no consistency.

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The packets were broken down into “guided” practice and “independent” practice. I have seen emails stating that the children would be graded on the “independent” practice as the “guided” practice was optional, but I have also seen emails from teachers stating that the children would be graded on the “guided” practice. Again, no consistency.

Since those early weeks, the school system moved to the internet. Another fiasco. Times and days for specific classes have changed regularly. If you miss the email regarding those changes, your child misses those classes. We recently learned that our third grader had science classes on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. We must have missed that email and had no idea she had been missing those classes. At the same time, the system indicates that our fifth grader does not have any science classes. Are we missing those also? It’s no wonder that some classes only have half the students that are supposed to be there. Yet we have not heard from any parent stating that they had been informed that their child missed any classes.

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We are not alone with our frustration. My daughter gets calls every day or so from other parents dealing with similar issues, some weeping with their frustration. I cannot voice my own frustration without mentioning Common Core math. Multiplying a couple of two digit numbers should not take a five-step process involving transposing numbers. This makes a basic process far more complicated and prone to error. Doesn’t the word, “elementary,” imply basics?

Jim Frank, Catonsville

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