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Thursday, August 11, 2022
ArlingtonOpinionEditorial: Audit lays bare shortcomings of 'virtual-learning' effort

Editorial: Audit lays bare shortcomings of ‘virtual-learning’ effort

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There wasn’t much doubt that the Arlington school system’s effort, for the 2021-22 school year, of offering “virtual” education for students who were unable or unwilling to go back into classrooms was a wreck.

Even School Board members admitted it, although their candor doesn’t ameliorate the reality that the program, which largely drew students with underlying health issues or other particular needs, further failed a group that was among those left behind the most during a disheveled, disorganized and sometimes seemingly disinterested effort by school leaders to keep educational progress moving forward during the COVID era.

The school system’s auditor is out with his conclusions related to the online-learning failures, and there’s no real surprise: The VLP –“virtual learning program”– was hastily conceived (despite plenty of time available to lay the groundwork), poorly implemented and suffered from a chronic lack of staff and constant turnover of supervisors.

What we found interesting, and more or less correct, is the analysis of the Arlington Parents for Education advocacy group after its members viewed the meeting.

“The School Board and superintendent received this information as if they were distant spectators to a car wreck, rather than some of the responsible actors whose conduct (or lack thereof) led directly to this failure,” the organization opined.

That sounds about right, and alas par for the course for a school system with a superintendent who is in over his head coupled with a constant parade of School Board member comings and goings and, as a result, a rudderless organization that is sucking in more than $700 million a year yet seems to be treading water at best.

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