Poor, non-white students likelier to need remote learning

Classroom Progress Report
students in school with face masks

A girl wears a face mask as students sit in a classroom of the Petri primary school in Dortmund, western Germany, on June 15, 2020 amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

NEW YORK (NEWS10) — An analysis from educational justice advocates at the Education Trust-NY indicates that students of color and those from lower-income backgrounds disproportionately rely on remote learning programs.

Although roughly half of all New York students are learning remotely, such underserved students are far less likely to have access to any in-person options, because they are less likely to even be available at their schools. In the state’s four biggest individual districts—Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers—82% of all students are remote.

According to the analysis, schools with more low-income students are 1.7 to 2.1 times more likely to depend on virtual options than schools with a more affluent student body. Also, the schools with the greatest share of students of color are 1.4 times as likely to be learning remotely than schools with the smallest share.

Lack of sufficient learning options for these students was at issue before the pandemic. The Education Trust says this highlights the need for quality remote instruction, support for districts with greater shares of those potentially at-risk students, and public statewide data on remote learning issues.

“The reopening guidelines issued by state education leaders represented a positive step on the path to reopening New York’s schools stronger and more equitably this fall,” said Dia Bryant, deputy director and chief partnerships officer for The Education Trust–New York. “Now it is imperative that all students have access to the resources and support they need to fully participate in learning, whether remote, in-person, or a blend of the two.”

Bryant’s data is based on enrollment numbers from the COVID-19 Report Card as of October 7. The report cards provide a limited window into potential problems, like the dearth of working personal learning devices, local high-speed internet, live instruction, and student attendance.

Take a look at the fact sheet on the statistics from the Education Trust-New York:


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