‘I feel like we’ll be setting our kids up to fail’: Spokane mother questions distance learning

SPOKANE, Wash. — Parents with children in the Spokane Public Schools system will have to adjust to another new normal. Students will start full-time distance learning this upcoming school year.

This is putting some families in a bind, like the Midgett family.

“I got the e-mail from the school district and I was just instantly at a complete loss,” said Monessa Midgett, a Spokane mother.

READ: Spokane Schools to begin 2020-2021 school year with full-time distance learning

She has three boys who go to the Libby Center. They’re going into first, seventh and eighth grades. What is normally an active family is now taking things one day at a time.

During the spring, they had to adjust to the learning curve as students couldn’t go back to school.

“My oldest one’s teachers were great,” she said. “They started kinda programs where they would post what was due for the week and then we would just do it as we could with my work schedule.”

Because of the learning flexibility, this was easy for the family. Midgett works as a full-time corrections nurse while her husband travels for his job.

“I don’t know how to make real-time learning work with our family life,” she said. “My career isn’t something I can just put on pause. Our livelihood isn’t something that we can put on pause.”

Midgett is combing through all her thoughts.

“I have all of these ideas running through my head and the unfortunate thing is pulling them out to homeschool is one of the ones that seems like it would work the best for our family,” she explained.

She said that homeschooling them would give her the flexibility to teach while working around their schedule. SPS has proposed a real-time learning model, meaning the class times would be treated like a normal school day.

“Being able to structure around our work schedule and still being able to accomplish their school work, but not necessarily on the school district’s time table really is the only way that that would be better for us,” Midgett explained.

Midgett wasn’t pleased with how the school district put out this plan.

“I just really wish the school district would’ve given us more choices so that we kinda didn’t have to take it into our own hands,” she said. “It’s so hard because it’s really big decisions that we have to make really quickly.”

The decision for Midgett is even harder because she said she doesn’t know how long the distance learning will last.

“Probably won’t be the right decision for our family,” Midgett said. “I feel like we’ll be setting our kids up to fail.”

While plans are still up in the air, she is thankful for the people who have stepped up in her family’s life.

“I have an amazing support system,” Midgett said. “I’ve had friends reach out and say they can come sit at my kitchen table while you’re working so that they can be on their videos.”

SPS is expected to release more details about the full-time distance learning in the coming days.

READ: LIST: School districts determine back to school plans