Last week I was trying to research exactly how many schools in our state will be impacted if our Governor is successful in negotiating with our Legislators to adopt his proposed changes to our state’s 1976 Independent Study (IS) Laws. I emailed the Independent Study (IS) Department at the California Department of Education (CDE) inquiring if they had the number of IS schools in our state. To my surprise I received a very concerning out of office reply from the CDE that stated:
“Distance Learning (DL) requirements will sunset on June 30th. LEAs considering a DL option for the 2021-22 school year shall implement the program as part of independent study (IS), as it will be the only option for attendance accounting for virtual learning. LEAs may choose to diversify their independent study program with various structural options. We will be scheduling an IS webinar series that will begin in July. Information for the webinars will be posted on the CDE IS web page once the dates are secured. The purpose of these webinars will be to review the new IS requirements and answer your questions.”
LEA stands for Local Education Agency which is defined as a public board of education or other public authority within a state that maintains administrative control of public elementary or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a state. School districts, county offices of education and charter schools are LEAs.
Distance Learning (DL) is what school districts offered to students as a replacement for in-person instruction during Covid School Closures. Parents and Legislators have brought up concerns about how these DL programs were implemented and the lack of student progress that was made during Covid. These distance learning programs were different from our successful, long-running, independent study programs that are offered by our districts, county offices of education, and charter schools serving students with varying needs through their unique programs.