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American News Jan 19, 2022 11:03 AM EST

Washington state Republicans SLAM bill proposing to slash in-person learning

Senate Bill 5735 would allow high schools in the state of Washington one day of remote learning each week, while middle and elementary schools would be allowed to implement weekly late-starts.

Washington state Republicans SLAM bill proposing to slash in-person learning
Katie Daviscourt Seattle, WA

Washington state senator John Braun (R) spoke before the state legislature on Tuesday and slammed state Democrats for proposing to slash in-person learning while students and teachers struggle to regain academic and psychological ground lost during the pandemic.

Senate Bill 5735 would allow high schools in the state of Washington one day of remote learning each week, while middle and elementary schools would be allowed to implement weekly late-starts.

"Parents should find it alarming that anyone would propose taking away one-fifth of our kids' instructional time when teachers and students are trying to regain academic and psychological ground lost during a year of remote learning and isolation," senator Braun said.

"Most disturbing is the idea that students and teachers would not be required to communicate during this remote learning time. We pay teachers to teach. If we reduce their time with students by 20%, maybe we should reduce their salary 20% as well."

SB 5735 states that there will be no requirement for teachers and students to communicate during the allotted day of remote learning, meaning that students could lose 20 percent of instructional hours.

"Parents will struggle to find and afford childcare for time that their kids should be at school. And whoever supervises the children will have to provide assistance and instruction if the teacher is not required to do so – instruction caregivers may not be qualified to provide," Braun continued.

"Senate Bill 5735 would create an unnecessary hardship for families already struggling to pay the bills, especially for those with multiple children in school or for single parents. It would create an undeserved roadblock for children with special needs who depend on classroom time and teachers’ aides for their development. And it would worsen our shortage of affordable childcare."

Data that was recently published by The Seattle Times shows a drastic decrease in state assessment test scores during the pandemic.

Between 2019 and 2021, the overall percentage of students who met state standards on the math portion of the exam fell by 20 percentage points. Just 30 percent of kids — public school students enrolled in grades 4 through 11 — met standards in math. In English, the portion of kids who met the standard fell by 9 percentage points, The Seattle Times reports.

Republican senator John Braun warned that the bill will prevent the state from restoring education to its' pre-pandemic success.

"Senate Bill 5735 is a huge step backward in restoring Washington's K-12 education system to its prepandemic success. It's a huge mistake," Braun explained.

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