KCRA Interviews Tony Thurmond

Six weeks into California’s distance learning experiment, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond sat down with KQED to discuss the challenges, progress, and a path forward for parents and schools.

You can read the interview with KCRA’s Marlei Martinez here

Here are some highlights:

The digital divide is priority #1

Thurmond says a fifth of the state’s students lack internet access. He discussed the Digital Divide Task Force and what it’s doing to improve technological equity, including the distribution of 70,000 laptops and 100,000 mobile hotspots.

The efforts of parents and and families have not gone unnoticed

To the struggling moms and dads out there, Thurmond has an important message: “I want to let parents know we hear them.”

Thurmond has been impressed with the resilience of families and their commitment, not only to their children’s education, but also to social distancing. Part of bridging the digital divide is about helping moms and dads who are struggling to help educate their kids at home. The state is still brainstorming ways it can support families too.

What the future will look like isn’t clear

No one knows when things will return to normal, or even what normal would look like. In terms of students returning to classrooms, “we have to wait until we get those signals from the public health experts about when that reopening will take place," said Thurmond.