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How Minority Students Were Left Behind In Pandemic-Era Education

In a survey of 430 participants conducted by Speak Up, a parent advocacy group based in California, it was found that there are gaping inconsistencies in the amount of teacher contact and live online learning that students received this spring.

The survey revealed that minorities, including Black and Latino children, as well as those with special needs, were most affected by these inequalities.

While it is undeniably unfortunate to hear about discrepancies and inequality within the education system, the figures brought to light are greatly disappointing.

  • 1 in 3 students only had contact with their teachers once a week or less since campuses closed.

  • 40% of students received daily live online instruction

  • Low-income students received live instruction once or week or less at triple the rate of their higher-income counterparts.

The numbers above only tell half of the story, as the survey also shines a light on how minority students received less attention than some of their peers.

For instance, we saw that English Language Learners (ELLs) were almost twice as likely as non-ELLs to only receive live instruction less than or equal to one (1) day a week.

In addition, students with special needs were “two times as likely to have never interacted with their teachers.”

Further, Black and Latino students were found to be up to seven times more likely to have never interacted with their teachers after campus closed.

For children who are used to sitting in a classroom five days a week, the sudden transition to online distance learning is already challenging. To go from interacting with a teacher five days a week to suddenly hearing from them perhaps once a week if they’re lucky, while still being expected to maintain learning benchmarks is too much to ask of any student.

Black, Latino and Special Needs students were bearing the bearing the brunt of educational inequality prior to the start of the pandemic, but these children have almost been completely left behind in the COVID-education era.

“It’s unacceptable that the kids that need the most help received the least amount of instruction this spring,” said Katie Braude, Speak UP Founder and CEO.

Speak Up also offered a list of recommendations for how Los Angeles should approach returning to school in the fall.

Here are a few:

· LAUSD must mandate grades or other feedback from teachers on all student work.

· LAUSD must ensure every student has free digital devices and free universal internet for academic purposes

· LAUSD must develop assessments to measure academic progress and placement during online learning.

Feel free to check out the survey here.

Also, please know that the attorneys at Holloway and Kimberlin are here to advocate and fight for your child. If you feel that your child is not receiving the education they deserve, our attorneys would be happy to offer you a free consultation.

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