SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) announced Saturday that it will implement a full distance learning plan beginning Sept. 8.
The plan will move forward without an agreement with the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA), the district said in the announcement.
"We have little choice but to move forward without an agreement and are committed to providing our community with what they have been asking for: quality instruction, effective communication and accountability to ensure we meet our students’ academic, social and emotional needs," said Superintendent Jorge Aguilar.
The district’s plan includes the following:
- Essential standards for every student, which are the building blocks for learning mastery and are part of the Common Core standards.
- Recorded instruction to provide students from working families and those with multiple siblings, for example, to access instruction at a later time.
- Assessments of student learning and identification of where targeted intervention and support are needed.
- Students with disabilities receive documented individualized services as required by their IEP and state and federal law.
- Adequate live instruction rather than a reliance for students to learn on their own through independent work.
- Professional Development for SCUSD Teachers as provided to teachers on Sept. 1 through 4 to provide teachers with the support to provide the quality distance learning program as indicated above.
- Consistent Google Classroom learning platform to provide consistency for our students, and access for site administrators and support providers to assist our teachers and students.
- Compliance with federal and state law, including SB 98 which establishes guardrails to ensure that distance learning isn’t the crisis learning of the spring.
"We want to be clear: while we were unable to reach an agreement with SCTA, our decision today is not a judgment of our incredible teachers. However, our families and our educators have been kept in limbo far too long and need to know what distance learning will look like for their students, and their classes," Aguilar said.
Teachers in the SCTA want flexibility in the learning styles for their students, not forcing them to be online at a specific time, doing specific work. They say all of the flexible language was taken out of the proposal.
"We can't in good faith use a one-size fits all approach. Our kids deserve better than that," said Ingrid Hutchin, a second grade teacher.
SCUSD and SCTA have been negotiating over the summer about distance learning. Two mediators were assigned, and a mediation session was held on Sept. 4, according to the school district.
"Eight hours of mediation failed to produce any significant movement towards a distance learning agreement. The fundamental difference centers on whether the district will allow teachers to exercise the same professional judgment in a distance learning platform that they exercise in a brick and mortar setting," SCTA said in a Facebook post Friday.
"In our plan our teachers were given the flexibility given the ability to use their professional judgement to determine what is best for their students in terms of how they design their classrooms and how they design their lessons," said Preston Jackson, a middle school teacher.
SCTA said the mediators concluded negotiations and released the parties to fact-finding, the next step in the negotiation process.
"One thing we know for sure is that no matter what happens teachers will be teaching their hearts out come Tuesday," SCTA said.
The clock is ticking for Sacramento City Unified School District to finalize reopening plans with the teachers union before school starts.