I’m a suburban teacher, and many of my students are losing out with remote learning

A quarter of my students don’t have technology to do work online. And distance learning doesn’t replace live interaction in the classroom.

SHARE I’m a suburban teacher, and many of my students are losing out with remote learning
A student works remotely on a computer.

A student works on a computer. Congress needs to step in and close the digital divide in this time of remote learning, a Melrose Park teacher writes.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Thank you for covering the challenge of educating students during the pandemic. I am a third grade teacher in Melrose Park. Many of my students are among millions in the U.S. who aren’t getting the same educational opportunities as their peers because they lack adequate digital access.

It’s been challenging to switch to e-learning. I am missing 25% of my class because not all of my students have access to technology. They may have cell phones, but they don’t have internet access to the abundance of online resources available to schools right now.

That puts them at a disadvantage because their fellow classmates are able to watch educational videos or play educational games, while they’re just completing worksheets I give them.

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Our superintendent had to ask for permission from the state government to allow teachers in schools to prepare learning packets for our students. We are going to school every two weeks to provide work for our students who can’t complete their learning online.

Luckily, the parents of my students do have cell phones, so I am able to use Remind to send messages via text. At least there’s one method to connect to my families.

I grieve over the lost opportunity to learn. Distance learning doesn’t replace the live interactions I have with my students. I miss our experiments, our conversations, our connections.

Technology like Zoom only allows me to connect with some of my students, not all. I miss them terribly, and I cannot wait to see them in person. Seeing them virtually is the next best thing, yet I don’t have the pleasure of seeing all my kids online during a most vulnerable time in our country’s history.

I’m on the front lines, and I’m asking that Congress step in to close the digital divide now, before my students lose more of the education they need to succeed.

Tara Ehrenberg, Melrose Park

Ready for reparations

I find myself trying to find a rationale for why racism exists in the United States. I think particularly about racism against those who are black, most of whom have ancestors who were brought to America’s shores against their will, held in captivity and forced to work as slaves.

These humans were subjected to inhumane treatment and then, after being “liberated,” were subjected to continuing prejudice and racism. That treatment still continues today.

There are stories of World War II Army veterans who were denied jobs when they returned home because of their color. They were also denied housing just for being black or if they were in an interracial marriage. The indignities continue.

This racism is ingrained in many American’s psyches, and they don’t even realize it. It is automatic. I realize this as I look back at my own upbringing.

Even individuals of color who are seen as successful face discrimination every day. I wonder how we can make this up to these Americans.

I may be becoming amenable to some form of reparations.

Those who would argue with me are proving my point.

Karen Wagner, Rolling Meadows

Stop paying for brutality

The first step on the path toward getting a police force that accomplishes the goals of the residents and respects all citizens is tying that those things to their compensation.

I can assure you if pay raises and pension payments were tied to how many civilians are killed each year, that stuff would be significantly curtailed.

Don Anderson, Oak Park 

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