but maybe I should be.
I received an email from my school districts superintendent this morning. It was in response to the AZ governors executive order yesterday postponing in person instruction until August 17th. In it she talked about how they were working out what would happen next and more importantly, what pay would look like.
I do what I usually do, act before thinking and forwarded it to a friend of mine. This friend is someone whose opinion I value more than most and she put it into perspective for me. I am f$#king fortunate AF, as the kids put it, to even have a job to go back to in the fall. I am beyond fortunate to have been fully paid for 2.5 months while working from home and doing about 2/3 of what I normally do. More importantly, my frustration has been misplaced.
If you are not familiar with the Arizona education system, get ready for a tl:dr version. Oh and you know there are going to be sources… Arizona has 15 counties, the largest and most populous being Maricopa county. Arizona has 230 different school districts statewide (1) with 58 of them in Maricopa county alone (2). On top of those 230 school districts there is an additional 547 charter schools statewide (3) and 467 private schools (4). Let’s talk about my home zip code 85015, within this 1 zip code there are 6 school districts (5) serving students, 4 elementary and 2 high school, 4 charter schools, and 3 private schools. And here is where the Arizona education system gets fun. We are a local control state, meaning major education rules are determined at the state level (think standards and achievement testing) but day to day instructional and management decisions are made by local school districts/charters. What this means in the time of a pandemic, each district, each charter school, each private school is developing their own plan for reopening schools. So a family with three children could have 1-3 different plans to follow.
So why did I tell you this… because the education system or COLLECTION of systems is not working for our students. We put the burden on our students and their families to figure out what is going on and what they need to do, all while providing limited communication to do so.
And, this my friends is why I am angry. I am not angry at my district, or heck with what many districts are being forced to do, far from it. They are trying to make the best of a horrible situation. I am angry that there are so many different plans. I feel for families who will have to figure out so the different plans. I am angry that the guidance we are receiving from the state and federal level does not put families, students, educators, and entire communities at the heart of all decisions. I am angry, because of a failure to act at the federal and state levels, there has been massive damage not just to our economy and our state/countries but to entire families.
Now, I hear you thinking, another ranty blog post, what are you doing to fix this. First, I am working with my current school district to help develop a plan to safely reopen our campuses this fall and continue instruction. I am advocation for our state government to step up and do something. And I am sitting in a corner rocking myself to sleep. We have no answers, and we can’t keep this up.