Students create petition to go back to Google Classroom

By: Elakshi Nedungottil and Adithya Tegginahalli


Elakshi Nedungottil

A seventh-grader at RCMS signs the petition.

When students started coming back in person, there were major changes. One of them includes switching from Google Classroom to an application called Schoology. But with this new change came problems for students and teachers alike. The problems with Schoology led some irate students to create a petition, a petition to change Schoology back to Google Classroom.

The petition is FCPS wide, encompassing more than 40 schools. It is about to hit 1,000 total signatures.

There were multiple reasons why students decided to sign the petition, one of them being the recent bug. Students were unenrolled from their courses, inconveniencing students and staff alike. While the bug was quickly fixed, it left a lasting impression on the students.

This wasn’t the only problem students have with Schoology either. Many students see Schoology as laggy, some saying that the layout is confusing and that it takes too many clicks to get to an assignment.

“I think like with any new tool, there is an initial period where people are unsure of how to use it.” said Mrs. Megan Carr, an IT specialist in RCMS, “So many teachers were using Google Classroom, it took so much time to learn. I think Schoology has a good learning curve.

The petition was made by two seventh-graders who go to RCMS — Arjun Krishnamurthy of the Dream Team and  Tanish Reddy Gottimukkula, who is on the All Stars team. They created the petition because they, of course, had quite a few problems with Schoology. 

“One time in Panther Time, Schoology was being very laggy, which is what motivated me to make a petition,” said Tanish. 

They also had problems with the recent bug, where students were getting unenrolled from classes. Arjun was unenrolled from all his classes, and Tanish was unenrolled from all but one. 

“Schoology deletes courses, it’s pretty laggy, especially if you have multiple tabs open,” Arjun said. “It takes lots of clicks to get to an assignment, you can see all pending assignments instead of going to each individual classroom.”

They both agreed that though Google Classroom has its flaws, like most technology, it was better than Schoology.

“Nothing much to dislike about Google Classroom, I like how it’s organized. Not much I can criticize,” said Tanish. “If you have more than 100 members it starts to get laggy, when a teacher is trying to post something it takes a second or two. Problems with Google Classroom are minor compared to Schoology.”

Every FCPS Petition needs at least 5,000 signatures to be considered, a lofty goal. Even with the challenge of that requirement, Arjun is sure that they’ll reach it.

“If enough people send it out to other people, if we don’t give up we have a chance,” Arjun says.

Currently the petition is almost at 1,000 signatures, with students from elementary, middle, and high schools alike. 

With almost 1000 signatures, griefing, or vandalism of the petition is inevitable. Before, everyone shared with the petition would be on suggest, this would allow them to suggest anything they want. Some people suggested things like “Schoology is the best, Google Classroom is bad,” or generally just be obnoxious with suggestions.

“When I first made the petition, I knew this was going to happen. We have other editors who kind of keep it organized,” says Tanish.

Since then everyone has been moved from suggestion to view. Now to sign the petition you have to email the editors. This has greatly slowed down the petitions progress as editors have to manually go through every email and add in each signature. Since they have to reach 5,000 signatures, it’ll be a while before they send the petition to FCPS.

Even with 5,000 signatures, there are a lot of problems which stand in the way of switching back to Google Classroom.

“Even though it may reach 1,000, it won’t get approved,” said Mr. Moosa Shah, a seventh-grade science teacher. “Because it’s all about the money. FCPS has a contract with Schoology, and you can’t just change it.”

It’s not just teachers who think like this, many students across FCPS also have their reservations.

“No, it won’t get approved, but I hope so,” said Janie Hesse, a seventh grader on the Trailblazers team. “I don’t think the school system would listen to a bunch of kids, even if it was 1,000.”

Tanish and Arjun have done their research. They agree that it probably won’t be approved this year, even if they reach their goal.

“I don’t think it will be improved this year, but we have a chance next year,” said Tanish. 

However, according to Mrs. Carr, FCPS has a multi-year contract with Schoology. 

“Schoology will never go away. Unless Google offers learning management, it will never replace Schoology,” she said, “though it may be used as an additional option.”

Though the petition may be approved a long time from now, how would another transition play out? Most people have been adjusting to Schoology well already, so how would people react if we were to go back to Google Classroom?

 “It would just be more work for teachers and students, more trouble for everyone,” said Mr. Shah.

Though the petition may pose a problem, many students and staff alike have been showing their support. 

“You know, I think that letting people hear your opinions is good,” said Mrs. Carr, “Not just the petition, but if you voice your opinion in words, people in FCPS will hear.”