Over 10,000 Underperforming Students Are Set to Return to In-Person Learning

Bella Martin, Sports Editor

Over 10,000 students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools and over 59,000 in Broward County Public Schools are being required to return back to school this month for failing or not making satisfactory progress in the past two quarters. 

On Nov. 30, 2020, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran signed Emergency Order 2020-EO-07 which stated that “students who are not making adequate progress must be transitioned to face-to-face learning, the most effective educational model.”

With the passage of this emergency order, MDCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho sent out letters to parents of struggling students to inform them that their children must return to the schoolhouse by the start of the second semester. 

The decision to send their child (or children) back to school ultimately lies with the parent, but if they choose to keep their children at home, they must sign an acknowledgment form stating that they understand their child’s failing grades and risk for retention.

In Miami-Dade schools, administrators evaluated students with a “D” or an “F” in core subjects such as language arts, mathematics, science or social studies, juniors and seniors who have not met graduation requirements and students with excessive absences. Any student who meets these criteria must return to school. Students that receive services in the Exception Student Education (ESE) program, such as those with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or Section 504 plans also went under evaluation, but do not have to return to school if they do not meet the aforementioned criteria. 

This announcement and emergency order comes months after students all over the state of Florida made the shift to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In Miami-Dade County, parents had the choice to send their children to school in-person or keep them learning virtually at home through platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Students attending school in-person must wear masks, stay socially distanced and follow other guidelines set by their school and the Center for Disease Control. 

Moreover, with the shift to online learning, schools all over the country have seen a drastic increase in the number of failing students. In Fairfax County, Virginia, a study showed an 83% increase in middle and high school students with two or more “F’s” in overall classes. Additional studies done in California and Texas showed similar results. Multiple reasons contribute to the current high failure rates. For example, increased school absences, rise in mental health issues, inadequate remote learning services or increased distractions at home. 

Underperforming students are set to return to school at the start of the second semester: Jan. 25. Only time can tell whether face-to-face instruction improves or benefits students’ academic performances.