Shelton lawmakers push for minimum guidelines for remote learning

State Reps. Jason Perillo (R-113), left, and Ben McGorty (R-122) joined fellow House Republicans in calling for legislation aimed at establishing clear minimum guidelines on remote learning for state students.

State Reps. Jason Perillo (R-113), left, and Ben McGorty (R-122) joined fellow House Republicans in calling for legislation aimed at establishing clear minimum guidelines on remote learning for state students.

Contributed photo / Contributed photo

HARTFORD — State Reps. Jason Perillo, R-113, and Ben McGorty, R-122, joined fellow House Republicans in calling for legislation aimed at establishing clear minimum guidelines on remote learning for state students.

House Republicans say that more consistency is needed to measure student participation and engagement once children are logged into a virtual platform.

"I've heard from too many parents and educators that 2020 was a 'lost year' for our state's students,” McGorty said. “The state failed them by switching over to remote learning with no plan in place for grading, attendance or for children with special needs who depend on in-person instruction.”

Perillo said remote learning is especially challenging for our youngest students and their parents.

“The legislature must be more proactive by ensuring standards are established and met, that our educators are given the support and training they need, and that the quality of education across the state continues to be held to high standards,” Perillo said. “We hope this legislation will provide teachers and students with the structure they need in this uncertain environment.”

The proposed legislation would require:

* Uniform minimum requirements for online classroom participation by students and that virtual settings feature the same amount of teacher instruction time as classroom settings;

* Minimum standards for students and educators for classwork as well as assigning grades for completed work;

* State-supported teacher training in remote/distance learning;

* In-person education for special needs students unless the school can demonstrate that their educational requirements can be met through distance learning;

* The state Department of Education to provide periodic review of whether such minimal standards are being met;

* Towns to use the first three snow days as traditional snow days with school off and allow subsequent snow days to be substituted for virtual learning that may be counted towards the school’s 180-day requirement.

The proposed legislation would not prohibit local school districts from establishing more stringent standards if they chose to do so, the representatives stated.