Union representatives push back against Governor Ivey’s stance on in-person learning

Education leaders disagree with Gov. Ivey

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WBRC) - Some education advocates and state union members are pushing back against Governor Kay Ivey’s announcement that schools should move to more in-person learning.

Union members say under normal circumstances they’d fully agree with Governor Ivey, but argue that right now things aren’t normal and we should operate as if they are when staff and student safety are on the line.

“I don’t understand,” said Richard Franklin, Birmingham AFT, “We’re using our kids as guinea pigs.”

In Governor Ivey’s statement released Tuesday about virtual learning she said, “These practices cannot - and should not - become a permanent part of instructional delivery.” She also emphasized it’s impact on student achievement since students aren’t getting face-to-face instruction with teachers.

But education advocates pushed back saying traditional learning right now impacts student achievement too because some students have been in and out of the classroom for weeks at a time because of COVID exposures.

“We know virtual is not what we want, but it is the safest and most consistent thing we can give our kids,” said Franklin.

He says while the Governor’s point about schools using strict safety measures to limit spread is true -- he says he still has concerns because COVID’s spread in the community doesn’t stop at school doors.

“We’ve had educators throughout the state who have caught COVID and died,” said Franklin, “The numbers don’t warrant what she’s saying.”

Leaders say they will continue to support the districts that have made decisions to transition away from more in-person learning to more virtual learning options.

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