Help Needed for a Righteous Cause

Hi Everyone,

Many of you are in independent study with a public or charter school and have been dealing with requirements for daily check ins or daily synchronous instruction. If this has been a hardship for your family, the Budget Subcommittee 2 for Educational Finance should hear from you before they vote on changes to the ed code on February 22nd.

Here are the emails:

Specifically, let them know that you think that the daily live interaction and weekly synchronous instruction requirements in Section 51747 that were added prior to the 2021-22 school year should be removed. Let them know why, as a parent, you think that students who CHOOSE independent study do not need this.

If anyone needs a model, here’s what I wrote:

I am writing to ask you to remove the daily live interaction and weekly synchronous instruction requirements in Section 51747 of the ed code that were added prior to the 2021-22 school year. As a parent who has voluntarily chosen independent study for her children for 14 years and having worked as a teacher as part of an independent study program for the last 7 years, I can tell you that these requirements cause more harm than good. Adding these requirements may have made sense as part of the pandemic response, when parents may not have voluntarily chosen independent study, but they should be taken back out of the ed code for independent study now.

Parents who choose independent study do so for flexibility. It allows families to travel, it allows students to set their own schedule, it allows them to seek medical care without concern for school schedules. Many students join independent study when for social or emotional reasons they need a break from daily interaction with peers. Live interactions and synchronous instruction requirements can be counter productive to meeting these needs.

Independent study teachers have regular, in depth conversations with their students and their parents. They know without daily interaction what’s going on with the family because of these long discussions. The new requirements mean teachers must spend more time in short, less in depth interactions and have less time for longer more meaningful meetings.

As the pandemic recedes, please remove these requirements and trust experienced independent study teachers to contact students with the frequency that they believe in their professional opinion is best for their students. The flexibility of independent study has worked for decades in California. Please return that flexibility to families.

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