Parents across Colorado express concerns over quality of children’s remote education

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — In a normal school year, kids would be heading back to the classrooms after Thanksgiving break. Instead, several districts are either continuing remote learning or transitioning to it.

FOX31 Problem Solver Nicole Fierro spoke exclusively with a panel of parents from across Colorado to find out how it’s going and what they are most worried about.

Many of the parents who participated had never met each other but quickly connected over shared struggles with their kid’s districts.

“I’m so done sending emails to them that they just ignore,” Lauren Landen said. 

“We have contacted, we’ve pushed as far as we can push,” Andrea Field said. 

“They are just patting us on the head saying, ‘oh that’s so sad, oh here’s our mental health counselors, encourage you to call them,’ teenagers are not calling them,” Kristie Huddle said.

Deteriorating mental health with isolation at home is a major concern these parents tell FOX31 they are seeing unlike ever before.

“This is an exponential anxiety add that we’re scared to death every night about,” Patrick McCarthy said, adding “Our kids want to go out for a drive just to get outside and clear their heads. I don’t want them out alone at night, I don’t know what they are going to do.”

“My oldest, she was this super upbeat, positive, popular kind of girl and in a normal circumstance you wouldn’t see her melt down and cry, but each day would get worse and worse and worse,” Regina Petramala said.

Parents on the panel say they see the issues stemming from a lack of interaction with classmates or the struggle of getting attentive learning through a computer.

“My son, he would lose his attention and start playing video games,” Petramala said. 

“Then our kids are cheating on tests because everything’s online so they just Google stuff, so are they being accurately assessed,” Landen said. 

Parents who are home with their kids say online class times are fractions of what they are in school. 

“Some teachers say, ‘if you have any questions, I’ll be here don’t turn off your camera,’” Landen said, adding “I don’t know if some teachers feel like they are being watched like there’s some sort of reason they need to be on there but there’s no interaction.”

“I have a sophomore and two freshmen going back-to-back in grades,” Kristen Dimig said, adding “I can attest that my freshman is getting half of the curriculum my sophomore received last year in just about every class.”

Some parents say they are researching new in-person learning options outside of Colorado.

“We already started looking at renting a place in Texas just so we could fly out for six months so my kids could go to school full time,” Petramala said. 

“We’re 12 faces representing millions, not only in Colorado, but across this country that are worried about the future,” David Lowe said. 

Parents forwarded the Problem Solvers their attempts at contacting school districts with concerns. We’re working to get answers to the questions parents are not getting themselves.

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