EdSource/Mikhail Zinshteyn
Los Angeles Unified's board meeting room.

About 15,000 high school students in Los Angeles Unified did not participate in any online learning during the first two weeks of school closures, district Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday.

In addition, for the remaining 105,000 high school students who have participated in online classes, about 26,000 of them are not doing so on a daily basis.

Beutner said many of those students are among the district’s “most vulnerable,” including students in foster care, students with disabilities and students living in poverty.

“It’s simply not acceptable that we lose touch with 15,000 young adults or that many students aren’t getting the education they should be,” Beutner said during a televised address Monday morning.

Reaching students who lack internet access at home is a dilemma that many districts across California are trying to solve amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

In L.A. Unified, where schools have been closed since March 16, about 25 percent of the district’s more than 600,000 students don’t have access to the internet at home. 

The district announced last week it was investing $100 million to provide Chromebooks and tablets as well as free internet access to all students in the district who don’t already have it. The district said it was partnering with Verizon to provide the internet connections.

Despite those efforts, the district has not yet been able to close the digital gap. 

Through the partnership with Verizon, the district in recent days has connected almost 2,000 high school students to the internet, Beutner said Monday. Getting internet access to the remaining students “will take the continued patience and commitment of all involved — students, families and teachers,” he added.

“But the payoff will be worth it as our students will be better prepared for the future that awaits them,” he said. “And all of this investment will only enhance the learning when we return to school. There is no substitute for learning in a school setting, but this investment in the digital future of our students will help make sure there’s opportunity to match the talent we know is in every classroom whether at school or at home.”

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  1. Phil 2 months ago2 months ago

    The people that are surprised by this article, including the people that published this article, have no idea about the current state of education, parenting, and kids. The same amount of kids (if not more) are not “logging in” when they were in a physical school setting. So many kids are apathetic, and we have enabled it by taking away consequences. Kids can’t get in trouble anymore. For example, they are getting in fights in … Read More

    The people that are surprised by this article, including the people that published this article, have no idea about the current state of education, parenting, and kids. The same amount of kids (if not more) are not “logging in” when they were in a physical school setting. So many kids are apathetic, and we have enabled it by taking away consequences. Kids can’t get in trouble anymore. For example, they are getting in fights in classrooms, and the teacher gets fired for it. Teachers are getting reprimanded for students being sad that they were talked to for being disruptive in class.

    For years now, many teachers have stopped giving homework because they know it’s not going to get done at home, so everything being learned has to get done in the classroom. The idea of a flipped classroom is innovative but laughable.

    What we have is a narrow margin between the over-sensitive and the entitled, and even the great teachers have their hands tied.

    In many schools, the highly disruptive kids have learned that there is no consequence, and have become such a barrier for learning in every class they attend. All it takes is one, but if you have 4 in a class, those teachers have no shot to maintain a positive learning environment. One small positive about the pandemic-induced remote learning is kids that were distracted or negatively influenced might actually get some work done, outside of the setting with the disruptors.

    Sure, connectivity might be an issue for some, but flattening the curve has been occurring in education. We have taken away accountability and expectation, and all that is left a bunch of underpaid and overworked teachers herding cats until they get pushed on to the next grade (whether they passed or not).

    I apologize for the cynicism; I sound like a grumpy old man. It’s a real problem though, and not enough money in the world to fix it…

  2. Anne 2 months ago2 months ago

    PBS TV Learning Media is FREE. EQUITABLE. ACCESSIBLE.

  3. SD Parent 2 months ago2 months ago

    At least LAUSD is trying. San Diego Unified hasn't done instruction since shuttering schools at the close of business on March 13th, is starting a "soft launch" of "distance learning" on April 6th while it assesses computer access and attempts to provide technology to those who don't have it, and will finally return to instruction on April 27--six weeks after closing schools. Read More

    At least LAUSD is trying. San Diego Unified hasn’t done instruction since shuttering schools at the close of business on March 13th, is starting a “soft launch” of “distance learning” on April 6th while it assesses computer access and attempts to provide technology to those who don’t have it, and will finally return to instruction on April 27–six weeks after closing schools.

    Replies

    • Todd Maddison 2 months ago2 months ago

      It's unfortunate that our public schools cannot simply partner with the existing providers of online home schooling programs (of which there are several large charters) and implement their already-existing systems in their districts. Instead, it seems districts are re-inventing that wheel one by one, which seems an astounding waste of resources to do for something that we all hope will only be in widespread usage for perhaps a few months, not to mention the fact that … Read More

      It’s unfortunate that our public schools cannot simply partner with the existing providers of online home schooling programs (of which there are several large charters) and implement their already-existing systems in their districts.

      Instead, it seems districts are re-inventing that wheel one by one, which seems an astounding waste of resources to do for something that we all hope will only be in widespread usage for perhaps a few months, not to mention the fact that experimenting with that now – at the end of the year – is not likely to result in the success that would happen using more tested methods.

      • dulce 2 months ago2 months ago

        Todd Maddison, exactly. This last-minute scrambling around is embarrassing and counterproductive. Children deserve much better!

  4. Todd Maddison 2 months ago2 months ago

    The article implies the reason kids are not following the online learning is because they have no internet access, which may be true in some cases but is hardly likely to be the major reason. The real reason is that there are no consequences. As far as I know, completion of assignments is not required and there is no grading going on. With that, of course many kids aren't paying attention. What do we expect? Unless we … Read More

    The article implies the reason kids are not following the online learning is because they have no internet access, which may be true in some cases but is hardly likely to be the major reason.

    The real reason is that there are no consequences. As far as I know, completion of assignments is not required and there is no grading going on.

    With that, of course many kids aren’t paying attention. What do we expect?

    Unless we make this a real school – with assignments, due dates, and grades – we can never expect all kids to be self-motivated enough to just do it…

  5. dulce 2 months ago2 months ago

    Why is “learning” taking such high priority right now? if we’re truly in the middle of a global crisis, why can’t parents and students simply have time to process what’s going on around them rather than have to deal with the added pressures of compulsory education? Just end this school year and start fresh in the fall. allow families to simply be together without the added burden of disorganized intrusive “learning” during this unprecedented time in our history.

    Replies

    • SD Parent 2 months ago2 months ago

      You can't just give up on millions of students' educations just because it's challenging, but it wouldn't have been a bad idea if the school districts had suspended pay for employees until students were back in classrooms and just extended the instructional days to next year (except for graduating seniors). What's your plan, a "do over" for every grade next year? What about graduating seniors? Or is your plan just to skip … Read More

      You can’t just give up on millions of students’ educations just because it’s challenging, but it wouldn’t have been a bad idea if the school districts had suspended pay for employees until students were back in classrooms and just extended the instructional days to next year (except for graduating seniors).

      What’s your plan, a “do over” for every grade next year? What about graduating seniors? Or is your plan just to skip the content (as if a 4th grader could do division next year if they didn’t learn multiplication this year in third grade)? Or maybe you expect the students to process – and the teachers to provide – 49 weeks of content in 36 weeks next year? How realistic are any of these options?

      A child has one chance at a K-12 education, and the success of that education will determine that child’s future, so we need to do whatever possible to ensure they get a good one, regardless of the global circumstances.

    • Elizabeth 2 months ago2 months ago

      I agree, this at-home learning as a parent is very hard.First day and I have a bad headache!!

    • CW 2 months ago2 months ago

      Start fresh in the fall?? They already finished over 75% of the year and repeating the full year would be absurd. Most students now have plenty of time with their families, and don’t consider continuing their education to be either disorganized or intrusive. And they continue to strive towards completing their year, not repeating it

  6. Jessica 2 months ago2 months ago

    It's not that they don't have internet access, because most students have cellphones, and most districts are choosing learning platforms that can be accessed by an app. There is a bigger problem that no one is talking about. They don't want to do the work. And no one at home is making them because parents don't want to argue with their kid trapped in a small house right now! That is what should … Read More

    It’s not that they don’t have internet access, because most students have cellphones, and most districts are choosing learning platforms that can be accessed by an app. There is a bigger problem that no one is talking about. They don’t want to do the work. And no one at home is making them because parents don’t want to argue with their kid trapped in a small house right now!

    That is what should be talked about, how parents aren’t parenting, they are letting kids literally do whatever!!!!!! There are fewer than 10% of my math students doing my work because none of it is being graded in the entire state of Louisiana and in the state of Mississippi. So if nothing is being graded, no one is going to do it, yet we as teachers have to be creative and make assignments for no one to do. We take our time to post exciting lectures and lessons and activities that are available by any mobile device, but no one is doing them. hat is what should be talked about. Once everyone has a free iPad or Chromebook, they will be using it for everything but education!

    Replies

    • Kristy 2 months ago2 months ago

      Jessica, that is exactly what I was thinking as I was reading this. My own 14 year old son argues with me daily about doing the work. If his teacher mom didn’t force him to do it, he would ignore it because he knows it “doesn’t count.” And we have wifi!

    • Elizabeth 2 months ago2 months ago

      Yes another comment I agree on…