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Virtual learning concerns prompt parents, students to turn to private school

Posted at 7:55 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 20:55:28-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Monday is the official enrollment count for students in public schools in Kansas.

According to a spokesperson for the Shawnee Mission School District, it will take a few weeks before official numbers are available.

Some parents in the district tell 41 Action News they are noticing an increase in parents pulling their children from the district and enrolling them in private schools.

Sara Crafton said her middle school-age daughter asked to go to private school when the district originally announced middle school students would be all virtual.

"She was really disappointed. It was just so many months at home, and she was just so excited to get back to school," Crafton said. "She needed activity, she needed socialization, she needed structure."

Crafton thinks the switch could become a common trend among families this year.

"I think we are going to see a big exodus of people from our public school system, and it's disappointing," Crafton said. "It's really sad. We have been huge components of public school, it's a great community builder."

As the district prepares to begin its hybrid model of learning for elementary students, parent Tonya Ware said the inconsistency is too difficult on working parents.

Ware is in the process of pulling her four kids from the district and transitioning to private school.

"I just feel like right now to save my sanity as well as my children's well-being, this is the best choice for us and our family," Ware said.

Ware said it's been a challenge for her children to succeed at remote learning.

"It's hard to have Zoom meetings with a kindergartner. You know, she's never been in the classrooms, she doesn't understand what it means to follow directions," Ware said.

Ware wonders what long-term effects the district will face depending on the number of students who leave.

"If you have a lot of parents pulling their students from the district, that's going to lower the quality of resources that they will receive," Ware said.

41 Action News reached out to the Shawnee Mission School District about the long-term effects of a potential drop in enrollment. A spokesperson said the district would prefer not to comment on the possible negative trend and supports whatever decisions parents make for their families.