A county in Virginia is discouraging parents from hiring private tutors for their children while refusing to provide in-person instruction in public schools.
“While [the Fairfax County Public School system] doesn’t and can’t control these private tutoring groups, we do have concerns that they may widen the gap in educational access and equity for all students,” said a memo from one of the nation’s largest school systems on Friday. Many parents are working together to hire private tutors to teach their children in small groups at home.
“We have received some requests from parents who would like to cluster groups or pods of students together with a specific teacher. From both a logistical perspective, and in the interest of educational equity, FCPS cannot accommodate such requests,” the memo continued.
While warning parents against at-home tutoring because everyone can’t afford it, Fairfax County also won’t let students come to school in person. Instead, public schools are resuming entirely online on September 8. With a budget of about $3 billion, Fairfax County serves almost 190,000 children in 196 schools.
Back in April, FCPS’s attempt to move instruction online resulted in, as the Washington Post summarized, “massive technological troubles, possible privacy breaches and online harassment of students and teachers, which led Fairfax to cancel school for several days.” The district is one of the nation’s wealthiest.
Fairfax County mom Anna Buchanan said her son’s teacher tried to use platforms other than the problem-prone Blackboard, but was told to stop. “Fairfax public school leaders have failed my children during coronavirus closures,” Buchanan said.