Every year right before Independence Day stores begin to fill up their shelves with backpacks and an array of school supplies. It is a time-honored tradition.
But this year Ohio parents remain in limbo regarding their children’s education opportunities this fall. To date, Governor DeWine has not publicly stated whether public schools will reopen this fall and if so what the parameters for the opening will include. Will schools be open part of the week and home schooled the other part, or just fulltime home schooling, no one knows.
This lack of guidance is adding to the stress on families. Those impacted especially hard are parents who work. They either need to find someone to take care of their child during the work day or leave their job. If they continue to work from home due to COVID-19 they have the added challenge of home schooling their public-school student and juggling their job at the same time.
For parents who take on the additional financial burden of sending their child to parochial, religious, or private schools the issue is even more cumbersome.
One family whose six children attend Catholic school has already made the “heartbreaking” decision they will not spend the money to send their children to parochial school next year.
“The Governor could shutter the school again at any time making the financial risk of paying for a religious education for our children too great.” The parent continued, “Many of the families from our school are also facing this tough decision.”
They are considering joining a home-schooling network for their children.
The fiscal impact on Catholic, and other private schools could easily result in permanent closures.
For many parents the burden of online education either public or private is too great. First there is the cost of securing computers for all or most the children in the home. Not all communities have access to the internet. Parents have reported the online classroom appear to be unorganized and thrown together. They require parents to be hands on throughout the day to ensure their child is learning. Parents have to snap photo’s or fax in copies of their children homework each day. The onus for learning is on the parent not the teacher or the online program. One parent was stunned when they realized they couldn’t help their child with the new common core math.
“I went to help my daughter with math only to realize they don’t teach children to carry the tens any longer. It’s all about boxes and approximation.”
Another parent is so stressed working a minimum wage job with odd hours that they simply have given up on trying to ensure their child is receiving any instruction at all.
“I wasn’t good in school and now with working odd hours, it is too much for me to try to teach my child too.”
With no children under the age of 20 dying from COVID-19 Governor DeWine must assess the high cost of children losing another year of education during his shut down or fully re-opening schools.
While DeWine ponders his options, stressed out parent are already scrambling to make theirs.