School closures amplified inequities. School reopenings are amplifying them too.
The reopening of California’s public schools doesn’t appear to be ameliorating the learning gap between wealthy and low-income students. Just as school closures once exacerbated inequities, reopenings have also highlighted the disparities between rich and poor.
87% of public schools now have some form of in-person instruction. However, 55% of students were still distance learning from home as of April 30, new research from EdSource shows. And the poorer you are, the less likely you are to have returned to class.
EdSource found that two-thirds of students in district schools with the largest proportions of low-income families were in distance learning, compared with only 43% of students in schools with the fewest low-income families — a disparity that may partly explain a widening learning gap between wealthy and poor students that researchers and teachers suspect the pandemic has enlarged.
At Esperanza Elementary in Oakland, for instance, just 23% of students have taken advantage of hybrid instruction. At Oakland’s Hillcrest Elementary, 80% of students have done so. 96% of students at Esperanza qualify for free and reduced-price meals, compared to 11% of families at Hillcrest.
Low-income areas were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Both parents and teachers in these areas have been more reluctant to head back to class. That's likely to widen the learning gap.
There are regional differences too. Participation in hybrid learning is much higher in the state’s rural areas than in large, urban districts,
Read more at EdSource.