“See you guys in a month,” Foothill Tech teacher Yiu Hung Li said to his journalism class. I was anxious, but excited to be given an extended spring break. Soon after, it was made apparent that we were going to be out for a lot longer than a month. Emotions ran wild, with upset students missing their friends and the whole senior class stripped of memorable activities, like prom and graduation, which many had worked hard for and been looking forward to for their entire high school career.
Naturally, the only way to continue learning was for schools across the U.S. to implement online distance learning for the remainder of the semester. What we ended up with is a sorry excuse of a replacement for the great education we get in the classroom. In a time where students are struggling to find a routine and anxiously await the future, we deserve something worth our time and energy. We deserve to learn, interact with our teachers and peers, be creatively challenged and get our minds off of everything else going on.
Edgenuity is the definition of busywork. It consists of tedious tasks, videos you can’t skim through and mainstream assignments you can find the answers to online. It almost makes me want to mute the videos and work on something useful. This should be concerning and appalling to educators. If assignments are this vague, there is an issue in the learning curve.
It is also extremely easy to get behind in a subject because each class has about six tasks per day. This teaches students to rush through the courses quickly, rather than taking the time to make sure they understand.
Likewise, a majority of teachers do not comply with this new system. In teacher Cherie Eulau’s opinion, “Edgenuity has some important features such as translation, but the repetitive nature of the format, the complete lack of interactivity and the generic tone make it completely unsuitable for students who must use it for four, five, or even six courses.”
Originally, teachers were not allowed to supplement Edgenuity with their material or remove any lessons they felt were unnecessary.
“It is mind numbing and robotic,” says Eulau about Edgenuity.
The Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified) addressed some of these obstacles in a recent message, saying that they are aware that Edgenuity “is not as high interest as students are learning in the classroom” and that lessons will be added and removed accordingly as of April 20. I have not experienced this change with all of my classes, so it is not a prerequisite.
However, I feel like the District could do more for us students. There are plenty of distance learning platforms that have gotten great reviews, such as a combination of Canvas, Zoom and Google Classroom, suggested by Eulau.
Then, I saw an article that shocked me. During a news conference on April 28, California (CA) Governor Gavin Newsom said that CA schools could open as early as July to make up for “learning losses”. Since coronavirus cases are still rapidly growing and there isn’t enough money for funding, this proposal isn’t very realistic. But it poses a big question: what’s the point of completing nearly a whole semester of online school if it isn’t deemed as useful?
Recently, students all around Ventura Unified have been demanding change. Buena High School student, Audrey Beaver ‘22, recently started a petition, gaining over 1,300 signatures from upset students. We can do better than learning from a platform that is rated only one star.
Other students have echoed this dissatisfaction; Autumn Brown ’22 says “this podunk, excruciatingly boring, simpleminded excuse for a replacement is making me lose my mind.”
Foothill Tech teacher Daniel Fitzpatrick thinks that “Edgenuity is unremarkable, to say the least.” He adds that he “has heard nothing but negative feedback from parents, students, and teachers. Are students really succeeding with it? I’m not too sure.”