Harvard-Based Analysis of Remote Learning Shows ‘Shocking’ Disparity Between Rich and Poor Students

Where’s the local press coverage of the colossal education gap following school closures?

Raleigh, N.C. — Take a look at this story from Yahoo! News on the latest data in inequitable outcomes from remote learning. To quote a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, “It’s scary.”

For years, local press coverage has reported endlessly on the Leandro court case and education funding (except for the actual multi-billion increases in education funding Republicans have provided — that part is usually left out).

So where’s the local coverage of studies like this one, which show massive disparities between wealthy and less fortunate families and what they might mean for North Carolina? From Yahoo! News:

“At the end of March when lockdowns began in the U.S., the number of students from the lowest earning families who participated in online math classes per week plunged by 62%, while the decrease was less pronounced — down 21% — among students from the highest-earning households, according to a paper by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights group that analyzed data from Zearn, an education nonprofit that partners with schools to provide math programs.

“…’If you look at the past four years of Zearn data, high and low-income kids were participating in online math at similar rates,’ said Shalinee Sharma, co-founder and CEO of Zearn. ‘Until March 16 of this year, that is, when schools closed and learning became remote. After that, a divergence between high- and low-income children happened that is shocking.’

“As participation dropped, so did the students’ progress in the subject. The number of weekly lessons completed by low-income students plummeted 52% at the end of March, while high-income students completed 14% more math lessons in a given week.

“‘We’ve always had a digital divide, and it had long created problems like when kids go home after school,’ said Jon Valant, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. ‘But when that is what school becomes, and the entire school day consists of things happening online, it really is tough. And it’s scary.’”

The official Medium account for N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press office.

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