Statement from HTA: Teachers reject district plan ‘heavy on livestreaming’

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Following is a statement the Hopkinton Teachers Association released Wednesday evening.

The members of the Hopkinton Teachers Association rejected by an overwhelming majority a proposed memorandum of understanding between the School Committee and union concerning hybrid learning. Because of the language surrounding livestreaming of classes, HTA members believed that the proposal is not in the best interest of students. This is the second time the MOU has been rejected by members of the association.

After more than three hours of meetings in which teachers passionately shared their concerns with school superintendent Carol Cavanaugh, the district refused to heed the warnings of those best positioned to determine if livestreaming provided a viable approach to teaching and learning.

The district’s desire to utilize widespread use of livestreaming classes to students in remote settings was a final component to an overall flawed approach to safe and effective learning during the pandemic.

“The district has not done a good job in analyzing or preparing for staffing needs and has resorted to a means of teaching that is not good for students or teachers,” said HTA president Becky Abate.

Educators said that the widespread use of livestreaming raises many issues that the district has not addressed, such as privacy and training.

“Cameras in the classroom introduce elements that should not be taken lightly,” Abate said. “Livestreaming not only puts students’ privacy at risk but also hampers their ability to learn new material, ask teachers for help, and meaningfully engage in the classroom experience. Asking educators to teach to two separate audiences simultaneously damages the learning experience of both students at home and those in the classroom.”

The HTA contends that the district is looking for an inexpensive solution to a flawed needs assessment.

“Students learning remotely should have access to synchronous lessons taught by Hopkinton educators. But relying on livestreaming is not the most effective way to accomplish that and should be used in only the most limited settings for very specific reasons,” Abate said. “The HTA rejects the widespread use of livestreaming for remote learners.”

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