Coronavirus Learning Loss Risk Index Reveals Big Equity Problems
This Sept. 1, 2020 article shows the status across the states as pictured here:
The methodology for determining degree of risk is depicted here:
The portions of the article related to Hawai‘i are here, quoting our Parents for Public Schools of Hawai‘i president, Dr. Lois Yamauchi.
Big Gaps Based on Family Education Levels
For most states, the number of weekly hours students spent in contact with teachers at or above the national median corresponds with the percentage at or above the median spent learning at home with family members.
This association is amplified for households where no one has a college degree. In most states, 25 and the District of Columbia, lesser-educated households lag behind more-educated ones in terms of students having access to instruction from both teachers and family members.
This pattern appears to impact the Midwest disproportionately. Nine out of 12 Midwestern states see significant gaps in access between more- and less-educated households regarding household member and teacher learning hours. For instance, Missouri ranks 47th in educational disparities in access to learning time with household members and second from the bottom for teacher access.
Hawaii shows the largest disparity in weekly teacher interactions between more-educated and less-educated households. The gap for the nation is roughly 8 percentage points, while the gap for Hawaii is nearly 54 percentage points. Additionally, only 37 percent of household members in Hawaii spent more time in teaching activities with children than the national median or above.
Kirstyn Galius, a third-year teacher who works at a Title I school in Hawaii, went from interacting weekly with 60 students at the beginning of the school year to only two by the end of May, about two months after schools shut down in-person instruction. As she prepares for the new school year, she often finds herself calling parents to see what they need, even though some of them speak a different language than her.
One note of caution: Some of the Census data around how, and what, individual households define as “learning at home” can be ambiguous. One example: whether “learning at home” included more multifaceted learning involving outside activities with family.
“Do you think the way they [Census] are asking the question is capturing family engagement?” asked Lois Yamauchi, a parent activist and professor of educational psychology at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. “Because the research on family engagement in education tends to be dominated by school-based activities, whereas I would argue learning and education is broader than school-based activities.”
The top- and bottom-ranking states on the COVID risk Index, Vermont and Hawaii, also differ significantly from the rest of the country in size, population, and academic outcomes. However, there are policy implications that can apply to the rest of the nation.
What to Learn From the Best and the Worst
In Vermont, the state may have been better positioned than others to deal with some pandemic-driven learning challenges due to Act 77 passed in 2013, which encouraged the use of personalized learning and may have increased access to devices, especially in rural environments. before the coronavirus even happened.
Hawaii, meanwhile, is a geographically diverse state with a single statewide school district. Its state schools superintendent, Christina Kishimoto, who was elected in 2017, came in under the framework of empowering schools and allowing for more school-level decision-making.
The state is considered to be at much higher risk than any other state in terms of equity based on EdWeek Research Center analysis. Hawaii has the widest gap in the amount of teacher interaction with lesser-educated households compared with more-educated ones.
Still, the district is under pressure to ensure all students can access a variety of resources that would enhance the learning environment. Under the CARES Act, the federal pandemic-relief law passed in March, the state has been able to create an IT help desk so parents can reach out if they have issues. And the district is also working to provide health-based wraparound services to help deal with the state’s immense homelessness, which affects students’ access to remote learning and teacher interaction.
One notable blank spot in the learning-risk picture for U.S. citizens: There is no public data available on the indicators tracked in the COVID risk index from the Census Bureau for Puerto Rico or any other U.S. territory. This is the case despite the fact that Puerto Rico alone, with more than 300,000 students, would be considered one of the 10 largest districts in the United States if it were part of the mainland.
The entire article is here: