McNichols: Losing faith in the Pawtucket school system

McNichols: Losing faith in the Pawtucket school system

This week the Pawtucket School Committee voted for complete distance learning for the remainder of the school year despite the superintendent’s efforts. This action is a massive acceleration of education inequality. All school buildings have been equipped with air filtration and air flow systems necessary to bring students back to meet RIDOH and RIDE guidelines. Parents were asked to complete a survey to determine in-person vs. distance learning. Parents were also informed in the email that all teachers, staff, materials and furniture would be returning to their home schools. We were also emailed that not voting your child would be automatically put into in-person/hybrid. At that meeting the committee decided that those votes were no response. The School Committee then changed the narrative completely and made it about the logistics of safety.

They mentioned bus transportation being an issue but never even gave the parents the option of transporting their children. Which by the way high school students have no bus transportation. They also mentioned needing more teachers and substitutes to handle both the in-person and remote learning. In my son’s school the teachers teach in a classroom and remotely at the same time. They have been quite successful and it is a private school which we decided was our best option for him after we learned the committee’s decision in the summer. I emailed the superintendent as a solution and she informed me that is called asynchronous and synchronous learning. She didn’t feel that solution would work with younger grades but might work with upper level students such as high schoolers. Which parents find quite upsetting that their children are completely overwhelmed, not properly focused, absenteeism, depression. All these factors as we all know could eventually lead to a severe lack of motivation and enthusiasm.

I have lost total faith in the Pawtucket school system. The behavior of this committee is shameful! Most of them don’t even have children in our schools and can’t relate. This action taken by our School Committee who are supposed to have our children’s education in their best interests is going to have severe repercussions.

There is nothing worse than a parent who sees a child’s bright future because of his or her talents and academic achievements being held back! To witness the devastation and the shine that once made them happy and prosper diminish before our eyes. To feel that their voice and ours as parents have no meaning or value to a board that we entrust our children. To be the only school department that hasn’t even tried to explore other avenues for all our students!

Jill McNichols

Pawtucket