Weekly News Roundup: Remote Learning Shift Exposes Tech Gaps


As schools across the country shut down, parents, students, and teachers are left with uncertainty and questions about what the future holds. As advocates for a high-quality education for ALL students, we’ll work to keep you up to date on the education world’s response to this crisis. As we’ve seen time and time again, many of our nation’s students are particularly vulnerable during times like this. We need to remain vigilant, stay informed of how the response is affecting ALL of God’s children, and advocate for our students’ protection and well-being.

Here are the stories that we’re focused on this week.

DeVos Funnels Coronavirus Relief Funds to Favored Private and Religious Schools via The New York Times

The most contentious move is guidance that directs school districts to increase the share of dollars they spend on students in private schools. Under federal education law, school districts are required to use funding they receive for their poorest students to provide “equitable services,” such as tutoring and transportation for low-income students attending private schools in their districts. But the department said districts should use their emergency funding, which was doled out based on student poverty rates, to support all students attending private schools in their districts, regardless of income.

Education funding in new stimulus bill in House falls far short of education leaders’ requests via Ed Source

When it comes to additional federal funding for education, the $3 trillion stimulus bill up for approval in the House of Representatives falls short of what many leading education organizations have been pushing for weeks.

A national rallying cry from education leaders has been for Congress to come up with $175 billion in relief funds or more for K-12 education to help offset what appear to be virtually certain budget cuts at a state level. Higher education leaders had been pushing for an additional $46.6 billion.

The sudden shift to remote learning is exposing the huge gaps in which students have access to technology via Fast Company

Across the country, students are now forced to learn remotely—many until the end of the school year. The switch to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated what equity advocates call the “digital divide,” the lack of access to a working device and a functioning, high-speed internet connection, explains Allison Socol, assistant director of P-12 policy at the advocacy nonprofit the Education Trust. That “working” part is especially important during the pandemic, she says. “Districts really have to make sure that they have practices in place to provide IT support and to repair devices, because an iPad is only good if it turns on and connects to the internet.”

One thing to read this weekend

Coronavirus’ online school is hard enough. What if you’re still learning to speak English? via USA Today

During the school closures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, educators are worried about students falling behind. This period of remote learning, technology divides and lowered expectations has stalled progress for almost everyone.

But students who are still learning English  — a group that’s swelled to 5 million nationwide, about three-fourths of them Latino — are losing even more ground. For them, that doesn’t just mean a lower GPA or having to attend a less-selective college. It means potentially not graduating or not advancing to a post-secondary education.

It means not mastering a skill critical for upward mobility in America.

Did any of these articles particularly speak to you? We would like to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments below:

May 17, 2020
The Expectations Project

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