- The COVID-19 pandemic has created
or kind of exacerbated inequality
that already exists in education
and really in American society and reflects that.
The first decision about whether schools should open or not.
We worry that if schools don't open
and kids don't come to schools,
then the most vulnerable children will fall behind,
because we know that disadvantaged children tend
to fall behind during summer vacation, for example.
On the other hand, we also worry that if we open schools,
our most vulnerable populations might be more affected
by the increase in COVID-19 in the community.
So I think however we do it,
we always have to keep equity at the forefront of our minds,
because otherwise, it's just going
to exacerbate the inequalities that already exists.
So I think the question is,
how is this going to affect communities?
We know for example,
that black families tend to be more likely
to prefer remote learning
or choose remote learning than white families.
They might be more likely to be an intergenerational family
with worries about transmission
with Asian and Latino families kind of in the middle.
But perhaps the class issues in terms of smaller learning spaces
are more likely to have certain health conditions in the family
that make it especially worrisome
if someone does contract COVID-19.
COVID-19 has affected black communities
and much more than white communities.
But if that's the case,
then if they're more likely to choose remote learning,
then how do we make remote learning robust
and make sure that it addresses the needs of those communities
just as much as the in person learning does.
And I think that's the real challenge
is maintaining our focus on equity,
even when we're like we're just trying to get by,
and everybody's working incredibly hard.
But we've got to have that equity focus at front and centre
because we know that this is going to affect equity.
So, if that means having small group sessions
with the most vulnerable learners
on a particular day of the week,
then that needs to happen
or thinking about what resources families need to be successful.
First, do they have enough food to eat?
Do they have an internet connectivity?
How can we help connect them to legal services
if there is an issue with legal status or housing?
You need to think of your children
but also be thinking right beyond your child
in order to push to helping meet the needs
of other families as well.
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