Schools are likely closed for the year

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A person with an umbrella walks past the sign posted at the high School announcing in March that school had been suspended indefinitely. (File photo by Jim Mahoney)

MCAS nixed for first time: no public graduation, prom

By Josh Resnek

The school year is very likely history, according to a slate of school administrators, teachers and state officials.

The decision to keep the public schools closed or to open them is in the governor’s hands.

The governor is remaining quiet right now about the decision he will be making, according to those close to him.

Schools quite possibly will not reopen until the fall although there could be the chance opening schools might be allowed for summer sessions if possible.

The school year done sets off a number of harsh realities about its social and educational effects on the school children, their parents, their teachers and the various communities that will be put under a heavy strain to get going again.

Everett’s high school seniors will not be accorded any of the traditional graduation exercises if schools remain closed.

“All the seniors close to graduation will be advanced,” said a Everett school official who wished to remain unnamed.

“That is probably what is going to happen. The same is true for everyone else matriculating through the school system who missed out on the spring session,” he added.

“They will be advanced to the next grade without prejudice.”

Officials say EHS seniors will be awarded their diplomas but no public pass out ceremonies will be taking place anytime soon.

In addition, the seniors will miss out on their prom, their real time graduation, the senior cook-out and countless family celebrations.

The governor cancelled the MCAS exams.

This is the first time in almost 30 years that the MCAS testing was cancelled.

Cancelling the MCAS test diminishes the ability of administrators to quantify student performance.

Teacher performance, as measured by student performance, is also put at risk, ac- cording to school officials.

If the school year is finished, other factors come into the mix of uncertainties that lie ahead.

Presently, the city takes out funds from money appropriated to pay the teachers during the school year to provide them with pay checks throughout the summer months.

However, a new budget will be coming up and the school department budget as it exists today will not be sufficient to pay for the upcoming year if all things are equal, which they are not.

The new school year will become a financial issue for school officials and for the city government.

Without sufficient funding, many teachers will have to be laid off.

This is the prospect right now as avail- able funds all around are being used and new

funding necessary to move into a new school year are contracting.

“The governor and the legislature will be forced to commit hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s rainy day fund for the schools to operate in the coming year,” said a school department official.

“Even then communities and towns will be hard pressed to reopen seamlessly and to deliver educational services as they were delivered before,” he added.

As a result of the virus disaster, states will expect the federal government to take up the slack so that reopening can occur without teacher layoffs or the diminishment of tried and true public school teaching elements.

There is also the new reality now coming to be of Internet/online teaching in the face of social distancing requirements.

Many who follow public school education believe the virus has caused a revolution now taking place wherein online teaching could replace nominal classroom instruction.

Social scientists have already chimed in on this. They claim that in richer communities, online education is more applicable to student bodies than in the much poorer 13 Gateway communities of which Everett is one.

In the meantime, short of an official declaration from the governor that the school year is over, individual school leaders and their teaching staffs are awaiting marching orders.

“Everyone is asking the same question: “Is there any chance he kids will be going back to school?”

“I think the superintendent has done a good job. It is the well-being of the kids that is paramount. Then there is the matter of the kind of education they are to receive,” said a school department official.

“That’s the playbook especially where kids are vulnerable – and they are vulnerable in very real ways in Everett,” she told the Leader Herald.

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