Apr 26, 2021
On April 13, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) opened the doors of 61 elementary schools and 11 early education centers to students—after a complete shutdown for more than a year. District officials are promising that all of the district’s 1,400 campuses will be opened by the end of May.
The problem is, no reasonable person can call what’s going on a “reopening” of schools. Children are in class for only three hours, from 8 to 11 a.m. There is after-school care until 4 p.m.—but that is also less than what schools offered before the pandemic, when after-school supervision went until 6 p.m.
No wonder that, in the schools that have opened, a big majority of the parents have opted to continue with “remote learning.” Many parents mentioned the risk of students bringing the virus home as a reason for their decision not to send their children back to school.
There is no doubt that district officials could have done a lot more, especially since the district is supposed to be getting $5 billion in extra state and federal funding, specifically for making the schools safe to open. Instead, district officials have come up with a plan that’s nothing but a show, and a short one at that—the school year is ending in less than two months.
A large majority of the LAUSD’s 465,000 students are from working-class families, and 80% qualify as low-income. For most of these working-class students, they are condemned to school via the internet, which has simply meant getting no education for a whole year. LAUSD’s so-called “reopening” plan guarantees that working-class children will continue to be cheated of an education.