One mans view on why there is no clear Remote Learning Schedule or Plan..
I’ve been vocal about the Lowell School System starting the year doing remote learning and starting in person learning in October. I am concerned not every building will be ready (though this City Manager seems committed to making sure they are) and that we do not have enough staff who have volunteered to come and teach in person and concerns that not all PPE needed material is on hand.
I’ve been frustrated at not hearing a clear reason why we shouldn’t announce full remote to start and frustrated at not hearing a clear plan on what remote learning would actually look like. By what I’ve read on Social media, the text messages and emails I’ve received from parents (even though I am not on the school committee) I can say they too are very frustrated and concerned.
So I decided to review what I knew and what might be a reason for not releasing a clear Remote Learning plan and came to the conclusion it is because the UTL leadership is dragging their feet on a contract agreement.
I want to be very clear I am not blaming the rank and file teachers all the teachers that I know and most of the teachers in general want to educate students, want to interact with students, want to work with students, that is their calling.
I believe my frustration with Paul and the UTL leadership is the same frustration Mike Dillion has, we’re not angry or blaming the The rank-and-file staff were upset that Paul and his cohorts are dragging on these negotiations and not agreeing to even a remote process basically they are holding the city school system ata standstill and that’s who the parents need to be angry with
Education is not what the UTL leadership is about they are a union organization intent on getting the best pay, the best language, the best working environment for their members, not what’s best for the students. I have said repeatedly despite listening to Paul George trying to play the concerned grandpa role, looking out for the “best interest“ of the students .Educating students is not really his main concern , his job is to get what he can for his members and he has repeatedly excelled at doing this. I’d want him negotiating for me.
So here’s how I reached my conclusion, Generally when a contract has expired such as the UTL ‘s did in June the school committee/school administration would honor the last year of the expired contract to start the new school year meaning whatever steps were in place, whatever payroll was in place, whatever language and working conditions were in place that is how the school year would start.
However there s absolutely nothing in the last contract that relates to remote learning. In March of last year the UTL and school committee had to agree to an MOA which I could not find on the school department website but what I’ve been told by a couple of teachers is that it required a maximum of three hours of live teaching remotely along with requirements to follow up with emails and correspondence and to help students in need.
I am convinced that the reason the school administration has not rolled out a full remote plan is This…the Administration probably came to the same conclusion I have, if they force the UTL to work under last year’s contract, then the UTL leadership will demand that they also work under last Springs MOA in regards to remote teaching which most of us know was a complete farce and only require 3 hours of remote instruction.
The Administration seems willing to wait till the last possible moment to keep negotiating to try to work out a contract with the UTL but if Paul has drawn a line in the sand regarding his UTL Leadership having input on a third-party to inspect the air in the schools which Bob Hoey indicated on City Life Thursday then I don’t think an agreement will be reached and Lowell Students will be receiving only 3 hours of actual on line led education despite the district purchasing the UTL’S endorsed On-Line software.
Parents should be angry at the School Administration for not being able to clearly explain how the lottery would work making it appear that if your student had an IEP or 504 plan they would automatically be In-Person when in reality it was a school , grade and classroom-based lottery, something that to me and from what I read too many parents was never very clear.
Parents should be very angry at the UTL leadership for dragging their feet more concerned for $$ than students/parents, caregivers or staffs needs, for misleading the public, often saying publicly it was always about re-opening schools and not a contract when in reality in my view Paul has made it very clear no contract then only three hours of remote learning , in my view it is the UTI leadership that is holding the school system at a standstill not the school administration or school committee.
No one should be upset with the rank and file teachers who are in the dark as much as parents, they don’t have a class roster they don’t know whether they’re in school or remote , none of this is their fault most of them want to be educating the students unfortunately it is their own leadership that is holding everything up.
PS: I can find No Truth to the rumors that Teachers were looking for “hazard pay”
No truth to the rumor the School Administration offered “incentives” for the full year for teachers to work remotely or In-Person either.