|FOREST OF THE RAIN PRODUCTIONS An Educational Affairs Organization||
Michael Robinson, Ed.D.
What the COVID-19 Crisis Says
About Equity and Online Learning
Millions of students in both K-12 and college are not in their classrooms but are at home as schools and colleges closed to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus. This means that both teaching and learning, especially in the K-12 levels, are experiencing massive interruptions. To maintain continuity of learning some school districts have incorporated remote learning.
The infusion of technology to off-set missed classroom instruction is being welcomed as a possible remedy but comes with challenges. For many, online learning is a game changer. However, this new game comes with ramifications for America’s most vulnerable learners. The adoption of web-based education has the potential to widen the achievement gap between low-income and high-income students, and Black and Brown students and their White classmates. Using online educational models will highlight the digital divide in America even more.
The digital divide between Black and White students has widened because of race and income. This “wealth gulf” is essentially pushing low-income Black and Brown students further behind. According to the Pew Research Center analysis of 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data, nearly 33% of children in American between the ages of six to 17 with incomes less than $30,000 a year lack a high-speed internet connection in their home. While households with an annual income of $75,000 or more were only six percent likely not to have high-speed internet (Pew Research Center Analysis of 2015 American Community Survey (IPUMS), 2015).
As more data is examined, it is clear the digital divide and the increasing wealth gulf are severely hindering the academic success of students of color. One aspect of the digital divide is known as the “homework gap” This is the result of limited or no access to technology in the home. An inability to complete homework assignments because of the lack of technology, including the internet, is a frequent occurrence for many students of color (Pew Research Center Analysis of 2018).
Specifically, the Pew Report revealed that 25 percent of Black teenagers indicated they are not capable of completing their homework assignments because they do not have access to digital technology. By comparison, only four percent of White teenagers reported being unable to finish their homework because they lacked technology access.
Pamela Grayson, Ed.D.
What the COVID-19 Crisis Says
About Food Insecurity In America
The Coronavirus outbreak has exposed many different failures within the American infrastructure. These deficiencies range from racism, ageism, homelessness, classism, and the serious issue of food insecurity. With the current presidential administration actively attacking America’s most vulnerable constituents through constant attempts to diminish services that such as Medicare, healthcare, and social security, it is no surprise that food benefits and food assistance are within the administration’s purview.There are a plethora of social media posts circulating depicting schools that will provide free meals to school-aged children during the Coronavirus quarantine. Additionally, some fast-food restaurants are providing free meals to children during this pandemic, such as Burger King (Click2Houston, 2020) and McDonald's (Fox46Charlotte, 2020). McDonald’s in Charlotte, NC is also offering free drive-through meals to seniors. Seeing stores that have barren meat, bread, and water shelves and the fact that some stores have to set aside a specific time for the elderly to shop (Business Insider, 2020) are key indications of how far too many Americans lack a communal perspective and selfishly hoard life’s staples, specifically food and water. This is further perpetuated by the implementation of thoughtless legislation that clearly dismisses this egregious inequity. This is the time to be selfless not selfish.