Covid-19 has Exacerbated Already-Debilitating Levels of Educational Inequality
The cost for society, students, parents, teachers, and school leaders has been severe
We are in a global learning crisis. Covid-era online learning outcomes have proven to be correlated directly with socioeconomic status, and the most vulnerable students are struggling the most (The Economist). The wealthiest Americans are hiring tutors and creating learning pods with other families. While this method has proven to be effective, most Americans can’t afford to hire private tutors (New York Times).
If we continue at this rate, students will simply be unprepared to face our increasingly automated and complex world. Truly, “it is hard to imagine there will be another moment in history when the central role of education in the economic, social, and political prosperity and stability of nations is so obvious and well understood by the general population” (Brookings).
Covid-19 has exacerbated deeply-seated educational inequalities
In 2016, the International Commission on Financing Global Education released a report that projecting rates at the time, nearly a billion school-aged children globally would have lacked basic secondary-level skills in 2030 (ICFGEO). That report was written was in 2016. Today’s numbers paint an even darker picture.
The current education system has been, and is even more so now, systematically failing young learners. The Covid-19 pandemic has surfaced deeply-rooted educational inequalities and has put millions of students at risk of losing years of prior schooling and learning. The societal implications of the educational inequality the pandemic has caused are a tremendous cause for concern. Historical analysis shows that “inequality fuels unrest and it has been shown that in countries with twice the levels of educational inequality, the probability of conflict more than doubles” (ICFGEO).
Distance learning is not very fun
Students are not engaged with the current form of online schooling. No A recent survey of participating San Antonio schools showed that 64% of parents of young students said their kids were less engaged during distance learning than they were during in-person classes (Education Dive). The reduction of quality learning time in the era of Covid-19 has already likely impeded student learning and affected the development of the whole child (Economic Policy Institute). School-aged children are spending more time online than ever before, yet education has still not embraced technological innovation to harness intellectual curiosity and sustain quality learning.
Teaching math can be time-consuming and stressful
Since lockdown measures began to take effect, parents have been forced to take on the role of homeschool teachers in addition to working day jobs and managing already-hectic schedules. In today’s remote environment, parents report losing an average of 8 hours of work a week, a full workday, attending to their kids’ needs (Washington Post). Parents are overworked, overwhelmed, and lack the resources to properly support their kids’ individual learning needs.
Engaging and teaching students is harder than ever
Teachers are struggling now more than ever with engaging their students and supporting their individual academic needs. Without a classroom and adequate online learning tools, teachers lack the resources they need to do their jobs best and are feeling deeply overwhelmed. The normal challenges educators already face are exacerbated by having to rapidly transition to remote learning with neither sufficient guidance nor resources.
Innovation in learning is past due
The current system excludes most children from access to quality personalized learning. The glaring inequalities of our education system are expected to reach irreversible heights for a generation of students, and Redwood Learning refuses to accept this status quo. Educational inequality begins before the first day of school, but by focusing on building the most engaging K-5 learning application, we can provide learners with the necessary foundations and resources to foster a lifelong love of learning. Homo sapiens are innately curious, yet existing educational systems do little to nurture curiosity into a lifelong love of learning. Social media and video games have uncovered that we can capture human attention at scale, and we are wasting it on selling shoes (the targeted advertising model). We should instead be using what makes technology so captivating to make learning captivating. That is the start of many significant opportunities for students.