All the drama happened around 2 a.m. Thursday, when the Miami-Dade County School Board voted unanimously to dump the distance learning platform known as My School Online, a product of the K12 company.
They brought the hammer down after hearing many hours of complaints in the meeting from parents and teachers. Actually, they heard complaints about My School Online From the first day of school.
Teacher Jodi Allen found out the platform wasn’t there anymore when she tried to log in this morning to teach her second grade class.
“It was a bit chaotic, we were all texting each other this morning, the teachers saying what’s going on, we didn’t get any word on this,” Allen said. “I’m thankful to see My School Online go, for almost two weeks now we’ve had nothing but chaos, you'd get on, you’d get thrown off, there was no audio, you couldn’t add your videos. It was a mess from day one.”
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho addressed the news media Thursday afternoon.
“The buck, with everything that happens in this school system, stops with me. I’m not one who shies away from responsibility. We made decisions we felt were in the best interest of students and teachers,” Carvalho said, reiterating that the My School Online platform was chosen because surveys showed parents and teachers wanted a simpler way to teach and learn remotely.
“I’m very happy that they decided to get rid of the system,” said Claudia Miro, who has a seventh-grader and an opinion which represents a common parental perspective.
“Here we are, the second week of school, and we still have issues. There hasn’t been an established routine for the children, it’s difficult, again, so many of us are balancing our own work with their school work,” Miro said.
Last week, we saw Samson Karp doing his fourth-grade work on My School Online. Today, he was learning how to use Microsoft Teams. Samson’s dad, school board member Dr. Martin Karp, says he wanted teachers to have autonomy to use any platform, including My School Online, but ultimately voted to cut ties with K12.
“I’m not really focused on blaming individuals, I’m focused on right now, we’ve got close to 300,000 students in class and what do we do right now to turn this thing around because there are kids that have never been in school, the kindergarteners, and they’re thinking what is this? I don’t want to go to school,” Karp said.
Carvalho said this is a low point in his tenure as superintendent.
“We are a system that plans and executes far better than this latest example but we are ready to move forward,” Carvalho said.
Moving forward means teachers have a choice to use Zoom or Teams, but all the time they spent learning how to navigate My School Online is now time wasted.
Carvalho said the school district is not paying a dime to K12, and he said the failure of the remote learning system will have no bearing on the decision on when to physically reopen schools.
That, Carvalho said, will be strictly based on science and experts who are advising the school district.