Giving Compass' Take:

• The Girls Who Code organization is trying to address the needs of students and girls who do not have access to Wi-Fi and have other tech needs, to create more accessibility and equity in education during the pandemic. 

• How might this organization benefit from donor support or collaborative partnerships? 

• Read more about equity in education during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For the past two months, Girls Who Code has been racing to design and deploy new virtual initiatives to serve thousands of girls around the world who rely on our programming.

We had no choice. We needed to reach our girls. We couldn’t risk losing progress on closing the gender gap in tech. And we refused to let the COVID-19 pandemic stop us.

The idea of a long-term shift toward virtual schooling fills me with dread and excitement at the same time.

Free of brick-and-mortar constraints, virtual education presents an opportunity to reach more girls, including those in underserved and rural communities. But only if we innovate on issues of access. If we don’t, then our most disadvantaged students will only fall further behind.

When schools closed their doors in March, they did so leaving as many as 12 million students without access to Wi-Fi. Little consideration had been given to the 1.4 million children who have caregiving responsibilities (the majority of them likely girls, because more than 75 percent of caregivers are female). It is no surprise that only 53 percent of students in public schools have attended online classes, compared with 82 percent of their private school peers.

And consider the importance of place-based learning for other reasons. Nearly 30 million students rely on free or reduced lunch programs at school. The emotional learning that happens in classrooms boosts achievement scores by as much as 11 percent. And then there’s the social isolation—42 percent of teens say they feel more lonely than usual, with girls more likely than boys to say so.

If remote education is here to stay, then we have to be proactive about designing systems and intentional about creating models that work for all students—no matter their circumstances.

Read the full article about equitable education by Reshma Saujani at EdSurge.