Coronavirus Learning Loss Risk Index Reveals Big Equity Problems
Education Week, September 1, 2020 (excerpts)
… an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the EdWeek Research Center.
The Research Center’s new Coronavirus Learning Loss Risk Index examined time spent learning and interacting with teachers and family members during this spring’s physical closures of K-12 schools, and the availability of devices and internet access that enable remote learning. The Index is designed to provide a relative—not absolute—sense of how the states compare when it comes to factors that might put students at risk of learning loss during the pandemic.
Students in Vermont were found to be the least susceptible to learning loss based on those factors, while Hawaii was the most prone to academic risks during the coronavirus outbreak, based on the analysis, which tracks the impact on public school student learning from May 14 through May 19….
Hawaii ranks as the most at-risk, alongside other higher-risk states, such as Kentucky, Louisiana, and Missouri….
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….
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….
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.
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….
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CB: Analysis: Hawaii Students Most At Risk Of Learning Loss