Most California students will return to in-person classes this fall. But Governor Newsom and state legislators want all K-12 schools to offer an option for remote learning. The independent study program is part of SB-130, unveiled on Monday.
Although distance learning isn’t mandatory anymore, there is still some desire for an independent study program, says KQED reporter Guy Marzorati.
“When [the law] expired, that didn't wipe out the demand that some parents, some families had for remote learning for their kids, either for health concerns, or perhaps they felt like they were getting a better education [by] learning at home,” Marzorati tells KCRW.
The (new) remote instruction would require teachers to check in daily with their students, and it would look different than the pandemic virtual classroom. He says students in kindergarten to third grade will be required to interact with teachers for at least an hour a day. Parents would also be required to meet with school administrators to discuss an independent study agreement, and students will have to meet certain academic checkpoints.
SB-130 would also give students the option to opt-out of distance learning.
“If a student and their family feels like they want to get back to the classroom, they want to opt out of independent study, school districts would have just five days to make that happen. So I think everything that you're seeing in this legislation is providing kind of off-ramps, with the end goal … of getting back as close to possible to in person instruction.”