California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that public schools, colleges, and universities will be physically closed until next fall due to COVID-19. The upshot is that school will go to full-time distance learning – a stunning turn of events for the brick-and-mortar teachers union institutions that we refer to as public schools.
KRON-TV reports that officials wanted to make clear that school is not out but that it has gone virtual. To that end, Google is offering to increase Wifi, which just somehow just became its expertise, and to bankroll Chromebook laptops.
California, the 5th largest economy in the world, claims that 6 million students in its schools – 20%– don’t have access to the internet or devices.
But that’s not the biggest change in California education announced by the governor.
There will be a lot of forgiveness with GPAs and standardized tests for college admission. In fact, the SATs and ACTs may well take on all the weight of a Laurie Loughlin college admissions essay for UC and CSU admissions.
UC President Janet Napolitano and the university system’s regents laid out how the higher education system will deal with students whose education has been retarded by the COVID-19 virus. There will be an emphasis on forgiveness:
- Suspending the letter grade requirement for A-G courses completed in winter/spring/summer 2020 for all students, including UC’s most recently admitted freshmen.
- Suspending the standardized test requirement for students applying for fall 2021 freshman admission.
- Providing that there will be no rescission of student admissions offers that result from students or schools missing official final transcript deadlines, and student retention of admission status through the first day of class until official documents are received by campuses.
- For transfer students, temporarily suspending the cap on the number of transferable units with “pass/no pass” grading applied toward the minimum 60 semester/90 quarter units required for junior standing.
Grades for Honors and AP classes will be fungible as well.
The bright side of this Chinese plague is that this could be the only time in recent memory that high-achieving American citizens who live in California actually stand a chance of being admitted to a UC school.