Will Swaim, president of the California Policy Center and co-host of National Review’s Radio Free California Podcast put out an excellent column on how California's minority students are being harmed the most by COVID school shutdowns.
Will writes: While the risks of returning are minor, the consequences of closures — especially to poor and minority students — are growing more apparent by the day. The LA Times’ recently survey of 45 school districts in the region rediscovered what we’ve known all along: there’s a digital divide between wealthy and poor (generally minority) students. The Times’ study is one of those rare cases where the headline – “A generation left behind? Online learning cheats poor students” – captures the entire story.
According to the research firm McKinsey, Hispanic, black, and low-income students will lose 9.2, 10.3, and 12.4 months of learning, respectively, if classrooms remain closed this semester. The consequences aren’t just academic. For many low-income children, school is the only place to escape domestic abuse, get physical activity, and enjoy a full meal. Most California schoolchildren receive free or reduced-price lunches.
Wealthier parents have the resources to make sure their children continue learning. They can afford learning pod-style arrangements. Or they can patiently oversee Zoom lessons and supplement workbook learning. For these wealthier parents, including our public officials, virtual schooling is an inconvenience. But for low-income parents, remote learning often forces a choice between income and their kids’ education.
Check out Will Swaim's column here and listen to Will talk to John & Ken about the situation below. John & Ken also ask Will about the teacher union's role in school shutdowns.