Teachers and parents hope state waives required teaching minutes after Ida

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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Damage from Hurricane Ida means students at 42 schools in Jefferson Parish will not be returning to class until October 1.

The district is now trying to find a way to make up for the required 63,720 minutes of teaching time, but some teachers argue that this is an arbitrary number.

“Teachers want to be with their children, but we remember that there are entire communities that have lost everything,” said Ann Marie Coviello.

The district asked teachers and parents for their advice on how to make up for lost time by extending the school day, extending the school calendar, and / or adjusting vacations and breaks.

Ann Marie Coviello works as a librarian at a level three school and says the options do not take into account the multiple crises teachers, staff and students in Southeast Louisiana have endured.

“Children cannot concentrate indefinitely. Why do you feel the need to take power away from the people you know are your frontline workers and the right people who will make a real difference in the lives of children, ”said Coviello.

More than 2,000 people signed a petition in one day asking the state to forgo the required 63,720 minutes as they did during COVID.

“The only way to make that sense is to do away with this big legal structure of counting cigarette ends every second in the siege mentality. It’s not what education is, it’s not how many minutes you do, it’s how well you do with those minutes and what you do with those minutes. When you don’t invest in people and you’re going to lose your best people, ”said Coviello.

A special education teacher at a level three school, Marquesha Moore also signed the petition.

She says if the district doesn’t give up the minutes, she could be one of those teachers they’re losing.

“There are kids who already hate school and ultimately don’t understand that a hurricane has devastated the community. When you feel pushed to your limits and the environment is stressful and the limitations placed on you exceed what you can handle, you need to learn to create healthy boundaries, ”said Moore.

According to the school district, they do not have the power to relinquish instructional minutes only to the governor at the request of the state.

The State Board of Education has yet to respond to my request for comment.

The Jefferson Parish School Board plans to meet on Monday to discuss the results of the calendar survey.

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