Amnon Free Press
A new study commissioned by the Department of Education found that minority students are more likely to remain in online education than white students.
The Institute of Education Sciences study surveyed fourth and eighth-graders in 5,000 schools across 42 states from Feb. 22 to March 12. 3,300 schools opted to participate in the study. The study uncovered that white students are far more likely to be back to classroom learning than minorities.
According to the data, 49 percent of the nation’s white fourth-graders have returned to in-person learning, meanwhile, 58 percent of the nation’s black fourth-graders and 56 percent of the nation’s Hispanic fourth-graders remain in virtual learning environments. The numbers of black and Hispanic students that remain virtual shot up to 64 percent among eighth-graders.
These return-to-school disparities only prove to expand existing racial inequalities in education. In December 2020, an analysis from NBC found that school closures have exacerbated racial inequality. In a study of nearly 4.4 million students, black and Hispanic students saw declines in their math scores, which suggests the pandemic has widened the educational gap for minorities.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the results were “encouraging,” though he concluded that there is inequality in access to in-person instruction.
“Today’s findings from the National Center for Education Statistics show encouraging early progress in states and communities efforts to reopen schools safely and quickly,” Cardona said in a statement. “Data from January show there were critical gaps in access to in-person instruction, particularly for communities of color and students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Cardona also highlighted that the Biden administration was sending out $81 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan to be distributed to states for school reopenings. However, multiple public schools in California — the state with some of the lowest in-person schooling rates in the country — are reportedly using COVID-19 relief funds to pay teachers bonuses.
The Daily Wire reported:
Reopen California Schools, a parent advocacy group posted a slew of memos and announcements from different school districts across California that show they plan on using the money from the latest coronavirus bailout package to pay “one-time” bonuses to teachers and staff.
The Institute of Education Sciences study also saw large gaps in in-person instruction levels based on region. The Northeast and West coast regions saw significantly fewer schools offering in-person instruction compared to the South and the Midwest.
According to the data, 64 percent of Northeast schools and 77 percent of West coast schools did not offer in-person instruction to fourth-graders. Only 33 percent of schools in the South and Midwest did not offer in-person instruction.
The numbers were even higher among eighth-grade students. 68 percent of Northeast schools and 83 percent of West coast schools did not offer in-person instruction to eighth-graders, while just 37 percent of Southern schools and 47 percent of Midwestern schools did not offer in-person instruction for eighth-graders.
A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that “schools can stay open safely in communities with widespread community transmission.” Other studies have indicated that schools are also not driving coronavirus infection rates.
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