A summer of delay and inconsistency from state political and education leaders left Texas schools little time to prepare for an academic year with millions of students learning from home. Now many of those kids are failing through no fault of their own.
Almost midway through the school year, it has become increasingly clear that virtual learning is failing a sizable number of Texas public school students whose parents decided to keep them home as COVID-19 grips the state.
The disturbing number of students posting failing grades while trying to learn in front of computer screens has also brought into sharper focus the failure of state education and political leaders to prepare for an academic year they knew would be like no other.
Over the last month, The Texas Tribune has interviewed more than 30 educators, students, parents and experts across the state about their experiences with remote learning. Parents and students describe a system in which kids are failing, not necessarily because they don’t understand the material, but because the process of teaching them is so broken that it’s difficult to succeed.
Teachers say they are scrambling to retool education, creating new videos and online lessons from scratch and struggling with new demands and limited time. They blame state leaders for squandering valuable months over the summer by delaying key decisions, frequently reversing course and sending conflicting messages to educators on the ground.