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Are we there yet?

No one knows when schools will reopen and “normal” life will resume. In the midst of the health emergency, ten states have simply closed all K-12 public schools and summarily ended their school year—Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Indiana, Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, and Vermont.

However, for the other 40 states, the ending of school closures varies.

Although there are many unanswered questions, the following are initial questions that every parent, student, teacher and administrator should be asking:

  • How can school adminstrators reasonably measure academic progess when the continuity of instruction is uneven, given the massive undertaking to continue educating 55.1 million public and private school students in the US with schools being closed?
  • For schools, like here in Sacramento, California, where there’s been a month-long hiatus in any required instruction, will the school year be extended in order to match the state mandated instructional time?
  • How will college admissions officers account for the differences in instructional continuity, thus academic achivement, between each applicant?
  • If school administrators choose to change academic grading scales to Pass/No Pass, how will college admissions officers evaluate transcripts with a full semester’s worth of missing letter grades? Will minimum GPA’s to qualify for admissions be waived?
  • What additional information will school officials and students need to submit with applications in order to contextualize their education during Spring 2020 and the specific details about their school being closed?

Families are struggling to make complicated decisions, not only to ensure their student graduates from high school, but also so their child’s carefully constructed and strategically-executed college and career plans, which have evolved over their lifetimes, are not derailed.

Graph courtesy of Education Week, April 2, 2020