Toledo’s virtual schools face criticism

Victoria BorodinovaSept. 8 marks the date for K-12 students at TPS to log on to their virtual classrooms, remote learning could be mandatory for as long as the entire first semester. TOLEDO — Creating an online educational option equal to an in-classroom environment is proving troublesome for Toledo Public Schools. “To say my things are upside down in my life is an understatement,” said Patricia Mazur, director of communications for TPS. “Virtual schools cannot fully resemble in-person schooling.”

Amidst the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, TPS has announced that “up to the entire first semester” will be taught 100% remotely, offering virtual “e-schooling” from grades K-12.

DeVos commitment to Title IX enforcement unclear

Capital News Service
LANSING — The nomination of Michigan’s Betsy DeVos to be U.S. secretary of education has focused new attention on equity issues in public schools. One of the many jobs schools have is to ensure gender equity through a federal law called Title IX. But Michigan schools’ understanding of their responsibilities under the law varies, and some activists worry that it will get even less attention if DeVos is confirmed. Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in schools at both the state and federal level, according to the Michigan Department of Education. Schools are obligated to protect not only students, but teachers and staff, as well as ensure their programs and curriculum are free of gender bias.

Online courses offer students second chance

Capital News Service
LANSING – School districts in the northern Lower Peninsula and West Michigan are offering credit recovery programs to allow students to make up classes, work for better grades and stay on the right track to graduate from high school. The goal is to promote student success, Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Flanagan said. Credit recovery is a way for students, who failed or haven’t finished a course, to take the courses during or after school to catch up and prepare for high school graduation. Rick Seebeck, Gladwin Community Schools superintendent, said his district has been using Plato, a credit recovery program, for the past four years. “Five years ago, kids would fall behind on credits but it wasn’t as big a deal because they had time to make it up.”
Not so now.

Push on to pump up physical education in schools

Capital News Service
LANSING – A recent federal study echoes concerns by Michigan health professionals that link the lack of time set aside for physical and health education classes in K-8 schools to increasing childhood obesity. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of public schools indicates that while sports opportunities for students have generally increased, the frequency of physical education classes has decreased. Noting the “federal government’s role in promoting the health and welfare of children,” the study aims to assist congressional consideration of strategies to increase physical activity among students. Katherine Knoll of Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan, a coalition dedicated to reducing obesity, said the study is relevant to the state’s situation. She cited three pending pieces of legislation to address concerns raised by the Department of Community Health.