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Special Edition: ‘The Students Left Behind By Remote Learning’

This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. On the roster this week: Special Edition--‘The Students Left Behind By Remote Learning’.

Special Edition: The Students Left Behind By Remote Learning

Reporting on the devastating toll that decisions on in-school or remote learning are having on children, and the deep erosion of the stability and progress school can provide during normal times, is one of the most urgent responsibilities of journalists right now. We typically cover multiple topics in our Wednesday Weekly, but we can not think of anything more important this week to share than this article: “The Students Left Behind By Remote Learning”. In this week’s edition of The New Yorker, Alec MacGillis, in partnership with ProPublica, dives in with tremendous detail to profile the devastating and profound consequences of remote learning and school closures for one particular student. In the profile, Shemar is an enthusiastic and accomplished student, overcoming many personal obstacles to maintain a connection with his school community. When the pandemic closed his school and then the district determined that the Baltimore Public Schools would be fully remote this fall, Shemar faced incredible learning challenges. The effects of isolation, lack of consistent academic instruction, and connection to a safe-harbor school environment is laid bare in this must-read reporting. As the author so devastatingly put it, “While we dutifully stayed home to flatten the curve, children like Shemar were invisible.” Echoing many of the conditions we are facing here in Connecticut, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan also chose to forgo a statewide approach with requirements for school reopening. His spokesperson noted, “The Governor was one of the most outspoken advocates for ensuring that these decisions were made locally.” But the stark reality is without a state standard, a reinforcement of inequity looms. According to a recent AP/Chalkbeat nationwide report mentioned in the article, “roughly half of white students had the option of in-person instruction, while only about a quarter of Black and Hispanic students did.” While there is plenty of news this week and a horror show of a debate to recover from, please put this at the top of your reading list as together we continue to focus our efforts to support all students’ learning, health and safety.

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