Giving Compass’ Take:
• Patricia McIlreavy offers donors three steps to support equitable remote education and prevent the learning gap from growing any wider during coronavirus.
•What might be the multi-generational impact of the digital divide during remote learning? What are you doing today to support equitable remote education?
• Read about centering equity in remote learning.
The achievement gap in education is well-documented. Lofty goals to leave no one behind have attempted to remedy the disparities, yet a proposed solution focused on school testing left out the real socio-economic factors impacting student learning.
The approaches to managing educational needs during the pandemic follow a similar pattern of misdiagnosis. There has been a heavy focus on returning to school, and not enough on the community needs of the most vulnerable children. Last year, there were more than 20 million students eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school. There are sure to be more now, with the severe economic crisis hitting more families and pushing them into financial and food insecurities. Research shows that missed meals and hunger impair a child’s ability to learn.
The digital divide is another aspect that is getting short shrift in discussions on how to ensure the children of America do not lose a year (or more) of schooling. The option to go virtual, or even hybrid, requires children to have a device that itself has access to high-speed internet and a safe, quiet space in which to use it. It requires their teachers to understand how to teach virtually, not a simple transition and one that requires school district support.
So what can philanthropy do to help?
Here are three opportunities for grantmakers and donors:
- Find and support creative programs that strive to ensure that learning is accessible to all.
- Fund the whole child.
- Remember that teachers and schools need resources too.
If we fail to create equitable and accessible education during the pandemic, the ramifications of the lost months of learning will haunt the nation for years to come.
Read the full article about equitable remote education by Patricia McIlreavy at Center for Disaster Philanthropy.