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School systems are failing our kids with online learning | READER COMMENTARY

Tina Purtell, a fourth-grade teacher at Emmorton Elementary School, welcomes her students Tuesday, Sept. 8 for their first day of online classes as the Harford County Public Schools 2020-21 school year begins.
Tina Purtell, a fourth-grade teacher at Emmorton Elementary School, welcomes her students Tuesday, Sept. 8 for their first day of online classes as the Harford County Public Schools 2020-21 school year begins. (David Anderson)

I am a senior citizen who is living the nightmare that is internet schooling. As my daughter is a nurse and is required to be at work, my wife and I have the responsibility for making sure her first-, fourth- and sixth-graders are at their computers and doing their work. It’s not working for our family, and I know that we are not alone. The unnecessary stress and frustration for the kids and us has been overwhelming and I have come to the conclusion it is harmful to the children. Not to mention the added stress for my daughter who comes home from work and spends hours trying to get the children up to par (“Baltimore County educator unions call on superintendent to rescind reopening plan for schools,” Sept. 18).

I applaud Baltimore County for coming up with a plan to support virtual learning through the opening of academic support centers, and to subsidize the cost for low-income families, But I have several issues with this. It does nothing for the average middle class family who could not afford to send their children to private schools (which, by the way, are operating at full capacity with no reports of issues). In our situation, it would cost $750 per week for this program (at $250 per week, per child) — not much less than my daughter’s take home pay for the week. I also read where the county program was going to limit the support center class size to 14 at the various county school buildings that they will be using. Does it make sense that my grandson, who only has 16 kids in his first grade class, can’t use the classroom in the same building?

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Essential people are working through this pandemic: doctors and nurses, police and fire personnel, grocery clerks and delivery persons. What is more essential than the education of our children?

I do not know who decided the course Baltimore County has taken. I can only state that it is not in the best interests of the children. As someone who retired from federal law enforcement, defunding the police will never happen. I can’t say the same about defunding the school system.

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Jim Frank, Catonsville

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