This post was originally published on April 5, 2021 by Forbes, and is part of LPI’s Learning in the Time of COVID-19 blog series, which explores strategies and investments to address the current crisis and build long-term systems capacity.
After a year of struggling with distance learning and hybrid models, parents, teachers, and policymakers across the country are concerned about “learning loss” and how to recover from the educational effects of the pandemic. While many of us resist the deficit orientation of learning loss language, these concerns are certainly legitimate: As the crisis began, millions of children, particularly those in low-income communities, lacked access to the computers and connectivity that would make in-person remote learning possible, creating even greater equity gaps than those that already existed.
Furthermore, many low-income communities and communities of color have been especially hard hit by COVID-19, with higher rates of infection, hospitalization and death, as well as greater rates of unemployment and housing and food insecurity. These traumatic events, coupled with the ongoing instances of police shootings of unarmed civilians, have led to a growing and ever more visible divide between the haves and the have-nots, with many students encountering barriers to keeping up in school and others disengaging from school altogether.