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Columbus parents concerned about ‘what’s next’ for children following strike

One parent said the strike has them considering charter schools or homeschooling their children.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Though Columbus City Schools and the Columbus Education Association have reached a conceptual agreement, families tell 10TV the strike has been tough. Some families are now turning to alternative forms of education.

One of those parents is Beritt Mann, an advocate for the parent group “Moms Help Moms,” providing educational resources for those in need.

Mann said she was excited for her son Miles to attend public school next year. It was an opportunity she had to miss out on as she was homeschooled as a child, but that decision all changed with the recent events surrounding the strike.

“If anything, I think people will really walk away from this with less comfort from the public education system and not more comfort. I certainly did,” said Mann. “I didn't walk away thinking 'Oh good, I feel better about everything.' I'm walking away saying, 'I don't even think I want my kid in public school after what I've seen'.”

Mann believed both sides of the strike lost sight of what they were fighting for, especially when the city started receiving national attention.

“Now seeing the way things are politicized, they feel unstable, I don't feel trusting of the way the system works, and we're actually talking about other options," she said.

For Mann's family, those other options include exploring alternative learning like charter schools and homeschooling with other families.

Meanwhile, others said their kids are excited to go back to school.

“Our kids are so excited to be in person on Monday. They've even got their backpacks, and their clothes all ready and their shoes sitting by the back door,” said Molly Koch, a mother of two CCS children.

Koch said it’s the love of the teachers that keeps her kids at the schools, but that’s not without her apprehension.

“How do we regain the trust, as a parent, that these promises that they're making are going to be fulfilled?” Koch said.

During the strike, Koch said she scrambled to figure out childcare, meals and how to get her kids set up properly with what she believed were not fully working Chromebooks.

CCS is hosting a virtual family engagement session on Tuesday where parents can ask the district any questions they may have. 

Students are expected to return back to school on Monday. CCS said in a statement it is ready for students to resume in-person learning.

"For students to succeed, they need quality education in classrooms with caring teachers and administrators. Transparency and open communication are top priorities in building trust with our families. The District has worked hard to improve student outcomes and internal systems, and provide financial stewardship with integrity, and, most importantly. Listen.

We will continue to address issues and advocate on behalf of our student's education, connect families with wraparound services, and communicate openly. Partnerships matter and we need our parents to participate in this work in the best interest of our students."

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