Students in the Desert Sands Unified School District will get to return to school four days a week after parent protests forced the board of education to reconsider a recent decision that would have kept them locked out of the classroom.
Last week, the Desert Sands Unified School District Board of Education rejected a proposal to allow students on campus four days a week after the local teachers union said its members were too “exhausted” to have more students in class and threatened to file a grievance.
Parents said students couldn’t wait any longer and not only deserve and need to be in class, but can do so safely. So, they took to the streets.
Days after the school board meeting, members of the Parent Union organized a rally on a busy street cornernear the district calling on the board to stand up to the union, put kids first, and open schools. The parents then took their message directly to the board during a special meeting Monday night. Parent Union ambassadors and students testified one after another for more than a half hour about the need for students to have more time in class. They placed homemade signs with messages like “Zoom = Doom” and “Don’t be a fool, open my school,” in the chairs left empty between them for social distancing purposes.
And the board listened.
Despite continued pushback from the Desert Sands Teachers Association, board members voted unanimously to allow students to return to class four days a week through the remainder of the school year, beginning next week. It’s an increase from the twice weekly schedule students are currently experiencing, and gives students and families hope that children may be able to make up some of the learning loss before the end of the year.
Parents in the nearby Los Angeles Unified School District also secured a win for students this week. After months of pressure from district parents, including members of the Parent Union, the district announced it will reopen school playgrounds for students, restoring a bit of normalcy to their days.
Across California, many students still remain locked out of the classroom for a majority of the week because teachers unions refuse to work with districts and return to work. This week, we saw that parents can be a formidable force against unions, and continue to be the strongest advocates for education.