Parents Find Learning Pods Could Help Students Struggling With Online Learning | Beaufort County Now | Just after Natalie Jacome launched a new clinic, the pandemic hit. | carolina journal, parents, learning pods, students, online learning, new clinic, coronaviru, covid-19, january 11, 2021

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Parents Find Learning Pods Could Help Students Struggling With Online Learning

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is Julie Havlak.

    Just after Natalie Jacome launched a new clinic, the pandemic hit.

    Jacome found herself saddled with two leases and scrambling to educate her fourth-grade daughter. As a single mother, she couldn't stop working, and she couldn't gamble on another stalled school reopening. But as Jacome logged hours applying for loans and treating patients, her daughter fell further behind.

    The unreliability of reopening is squeezing parents who can't afford to lose child care when schools close their classrooms. Remote learning has forced working parents out of the workforce, especially womend — and compromised learning for those 19% of students who've stopped attending class regularly.

    "I'm not able to be a mom, a teacher, run a business, and keep a roof over her head," Jacome said. "She passed, but it was a time where I didn't feel like a good parent at all. I felt awful."

    Jacome found a solution in learning podsd — small groups of parents who've pooled their resources to hire a teacher for their children. These groups have exploded since the pandemic forced learning online and shutdowns consumed months of the school year.

    Jacome partnered with two other families in Raleigh, and hired a former teacher. The teacher papered the walls with multiplication charts, and soon her daughter began to excel in school, Jacome said.

    "She's done better this year than ever before. She's not going to be behind at all," Jacome said. "[The teacher] was fantastic. I can't say enough. She's almost like a second mom."

    But it's not a perfect solution. Pods can fall apart, and Jacome's did. She's struggling to recruit other families to help her pay the teacher. And she knows many families can't afford such a luxury.

    "The lack of predictability is devastating for working parents, parents who own a small business, and single parents," said Terry Stoops, director of the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation. "That's the real challenge. Pods aren't an option for middle and lower income families."

    Jacome would send her daughter back to school if she felt she could rely on the school system. But she doesn't trust the fragility of reopening.

    "Not only am I worried about my daughter getting COVID, but if she brings it to me, it'd really affect my livelihood," Jacome said. "But if she was guaranteed to have child care every day, I'd send her. Kids aren't big spreaders."

    She'll isn't likely to get that guarantee anytime soon.

    Wake County closed schools in December, amid rising case counts, with plans to return elementary students to in-person learning Jan. 20. Durham Public Schools canceled in-person learning through the end of the school year.

    "The scientific consensus tells us that in person learning is safe, and there's very little chance of COVID spreading in schools," Stoops said. "A significant number of students who're in an online learning environment will experience significant learning losses of one or more grade levels of content."

    But the pandemic's disruption could come with a silver lining, Stoops said.

    "Learning pods have introduced the concept and necessity of school choice," Stoops said. "The system is not well-suited to meet the needs of individual children. These parents have found a way to do that, and I don't think they'll want to give that up easily."


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Today, America's second Fake Impeachment of Donald J. Trump, just days before he leaves office, may speak more about those Impeaching the President than he who is indicted.
For the last four years, Donald Trump kept back the tide. But now, it’s up to Congress.
In her fine opinion piece for the Martin Center, Megan Zogby bemoans the “Quixotic” requirement that North Carolina college and university students take between two and four courses in a language such as Spanish, French, or German.
Andrew McCarthy of National Review Online admits early in his latest column that he believes President Trump has “committed impeachable conduct.”
With civic and political conflict headlining the news nearly every day, I’ve been searching for a bright spot on which to pin my hopes for reconciliation in this country.


According to Politico, Sunday’s rehearsal for Joe Biden’s inauguration has been postponed due to safety concerns, with the rehearsal now being planned for Monday.
Get a good cup of coffee and decompress with The Wolfman as he gives us his account of what really happened on the ground in DC. This is an exclusive series that will not be found anywhere but BCN.
Rich Lowry of National Review Online documents the social media giant’s influence on American political culture.
Pot calling kettle black: Another example of the hypocrisy of the Left/Democrats



Back to Top