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The problem with Coronado’s 4x4 accelerated learning

Damage to kids’ lives

Steve Rauber’s 4x4 is trying to gin up support for ditching 4x4 catch-up plan.
Steve Rauber’s 4x4 is trying to gin up support for ditching 4x4 catch-up plan.

Real estate investor and father Steve Rauber is trying to explain why he’s fighting his school district (Coronado)’s plans to make up for covid by squeezing two years of education into one. “The 4x4 [plan] is where they’re taking a year-long of class and condensing it, offering the kids three or four classes per semester, which is the equivalent of six or eight classes. Under that, there’s accelerated learning, because you’re doing a year’s worth of work in under one semester. First and foremost, that kind of accelerated learning is not very good for people who have IEPs [individualized education programs], or have any kind of learning disabilities. And most kids aren’t so focused that they can get through that kind of accelerated learning, plus any time you’re sick, or miss school, or the teacher’s not there, that’s the equivalent of two days. If you miss two days of school, it’s almost like missing four days. If you miss a week, you’re never catching up.”

Steve Rauber and family.

So, he says, for kids who struggle to learn, 4x4 is definitely not a good way to go. “My daughter’s a good student. She gets mostly A’s. Yet even for her, once it was described to us, they recommend that kids take three classes, not four. The problem is that this breaks down to a simple math equation: students by California law are required to have 1,080 hours of in-school instruction. When you divide that by 180 days of school, it works out to 6 hours a day. But if you divide 1080 by eight classes, which is what the 4x4 is, you’ve cut down the in-class instruction from 180 hours per class to 135 hours per class, thereby short-changing the student of 45 hours of instruction per class. That just breaks down to eight classes versus six. So the kids end up getting 45 hours less instruction when you go to that format. In addition to that, then they start recommending under that format that most kids should only start taking three classes instead of four. My daughter, if she takes six classes gets 810 hours of instruction instead of the 1080. The answer I got from the school board is she gets the credit [even if she’s] not in class, because they offer the class. But the fact that they offer the class doesn’t do any good for my child who is taking six. So she’s done with her normal school day about 1 o’clock. What is she supposed to do with all those extra hours? She should be getting in-class instruction. Instead she’s left to her own devices to catch up and then try to keep up with the fast pace of classes that take place over a semester rather than a year. That’s the biggest problem with 4x4.”

According to Rauber, 42 of Coronado’s 60 teachers have written saying they are “passionately against” 4x4 as currently constituted.

The only thought that comes to mind, watching this debate, which must be taking place in various formats across the country, is that instead of force-feeding kids, maybe we should stretch learning, slow down. Accept the delay. Otherwise, parents like Rauber believe, there’s going to be a lot of damage to kids’ lives.

Social Darwinism, anybody?

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Steve Rauber’s 4x4 is trying to gin up support for ditching 4x4 catch-up plan.
Steve Rauber’s 4x4 is trying to gin up support for ditching 4x4 catch-up plan.

Real estate investor and father Steve Rauber is trying to explain why he’s fighting his school district (Coronado)’s plans to make up for covid by squeezing two years of education into one. “The 4x4 [plan] is where they’re taking a year-long of class and condensing it, offering the kids three or four classes per semester, which is the equivalent of six or eight classes. Under that, there’s accelerated learning, because you’re doing a year’s worth of work in under one semester. First and foremost, that kind of accelerated learning is not very good for people who have IEPs [individualized education programs], or have any kind of learning disabilities. And most kids aren’t so focused that they can get through that kind of accelerated learning, plus any time you’re sick, or miss school, or the teacher’s not there, that’s the equivalent of two days. If you miss two days of school, it’s almost like missing four days. If you miss a week, you’re never catching up.”

Steve Rauber and family.

So, he says, for kids who struggle to learn, 4x4 is definitely not a good way to go. “My daughter’s a good student. She gets mostly A’s. Yet even for her, once it was described to us, they recommend that kids take three classes, not four. The problem is that this breaks down to a simple math equation: students by California law are required to have 1,080 hours of in-school instruction. When you divide that by 180 days of school, it works out to 6 hours a day. But if you divide 1080 by eight classes, which is what the 4x4 is, you’ve cut down the in-class instruction from 180 hours per class to 135 hours per class, thereby short-changing the student of 45 hours of instruction per class. That just breaks down to eight classes versus six. So the kids end up getting 45 hours less instruction when you go to that format. In addition to that, then they start recommending under that format that most kids should only start taking three classes instead of four. My daughter, if she takes six classes gets 810 hours of instruction instead of the 1080. The answer I got from the school board is she gets the credit [even if she’s] not in class, because they offer the class. But the fact that they offer the class doesn’t do any good for my child who is taking six. So she’s done with her normal school day about 1 o’clock. What is she supposed to do with all those extra hours? She should be getting in-class instruction. Instead she’s left to her own devices to catch up and then try to keep up with the fast pace of classes that take place over a semester rather than a year. That’s the biggest problem with 4x4.”

According to Rauber, 42 of Coronado’s 60 teachers have written saying they are “passionately against” 4x4 as currently constituted.

The only thought that comes to mind, watching this debate, which must be taking place in various formats across the country, is that instead of force-feeding kids, maybe we should stretch learning, slow down. Accept the delay. Otherwise, parents like Rauber believe, there’s going to be a lot of damage to kids’ lives.

Social Darwinism, anybody?

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