This morning State Superintendent Mark Johnson talked about the statewide plan for reopening schools this fall (with no evidence that his “Task Force” ever met at all).
And that statewide plan is that there is no statewide plan. Each LEA will have its own unique plan (115 school systems in the state). And because charter schools are not under the auspices of the local school system from which they get money, it seems logical that each charter school will have its own unique plan for reopening.
There could be more than 300 different plans for reopening schools this fall. And there are many more questions that this gives rise to as well as many concerns. But there is also a probable premeditated reason for this, even after Johnson set up a farcical “reopening task force.”
Yes, Johnson is a lame-duck state official whose leadership skills are weak at best. But this “plan of everyone for himself” may not be as much of a cop-out as it seems on the surface. It might be the first step in absolving the state from being responsible for reopening schools.
What constitutes reopening schools can now have many different iterations from what was shared this morning. Think about start dates, how many days of remote instruction versus in-person to begin school year, etc. For instance, look at Davidson County in the Triad area. There are actually three LEAs within the boundaries of Davidson County: Davidson County Schools, Lexington City Schools, and Thomasville City Schools.
Literally the same geographical area, but three different reopening plans could be taking place for multiple campuses. Keep in mind that plans can do different things for elementary,middle, and high school campuses within the same school system.
With so many school systems going in different directions, it would be hard for the state to even think that we should have standardized state and federal tests next school year. It would also bring into question the school performance grading system, past rules on calendar flexibility, the 10 day-attendance rule to ascertain size of student body, and the law that states we have to start the beginning of the year in person. None of those things have been addressed for this next school year.
BUT HERE IS THE ONE THING THAT JOHNSON’S ANNOUNCEMENT REALLY PUTS INTO PLAY. And it could be a deliberate ploy and a trap.
If each school system is to have its own reopening plan, then it is easier for the state to say, “Do what you think is best for your schools and students, but enacting your own plan means that you finance your own plan with your own resources (and we aren’t going to offer a state-plan).”
Think class size chaos (and remember that really has not gone away). That was a state mandate that Raleigh passed along to the locals, but never gave funds for it to be implemented. The state passed the bill on to the LEA’s but state was the entity who said that they had to “buy” it in the first place.
All while reducing state revenue with tax credits to corporations.
So now the state says, ” You do your own thing.”
You really think that the state will give out monies for each LEA to help with a reopening plan that would have never been thought of as being needed months ago?
Even more reason to vote in November.