Educational Equity – Part 2 – 7 Reasons the COVID-19 Pandemic Disproportionately Affected Students of Color

Professionals in the education industry feared that a huge learning loss would result from the COVID-19 pandemic. And with the release of the latest standardized test scores, that has definitely proven to be the case.

Of particular note is how students of color were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and why their overall test scores this past year were much lower than that of their white counterparts.

While there are undeniably many important factors at play, there are 7 reasons, in particular, that explain why this has happened.  Understanding these can help teachers provide an equitable education for everyone moving forward:

  • Resources Were Unavailable

Black and Hispanic students were 3-4% less likely to have access to technology devices and 3-6% less likely to have reliable internet at home.

Students from lower-income households were less likely to have a dedicated, quiet place to study and educational enrichment opportunities were often unavailable within their local communities.

  • Health Disparities

Nearly 60% of respondents surveyed in a study of 440 black Americans said they had at least one household member working in an essential field during the pandemic so their risk for exposure to the virus was also increased.

Black Americans are 2.8x more likely to be hospitalized with COVID, 2x more likely to die from it, and their overall life expectancy has dropped since the start of the pandemic.

  • Heightened Mistrust of Education

With all the news coverage of systemic racism and police brutality along with the protests and riots that took place, a heightened mistrust of education began to grow among people of color.

And this mistrust has a direct impact on the way education is valued, how teachers and administrators are treated by students, and how much effort the students continue to put into their studies.

  • Higher Instances of Trauma

From food and housing insecurity to increased rates of domestic abuse, witnessing violence in their communities, and suffering from environmental hazards, black and hispanic students had higher instances of trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic.  To complicate this further is the recent hate crimes against the Asian population.

Studies reflect that trauma greatly affects a student’s ability to learn.

  • Parental Involvement Was Lacking

With so many parents working multiple jobs to make ends meet, students in the black and hispanic communities were more likely to experience little to no parental involvement in their education while learning remotely.

Many students have parents who speak little to no English, so even when these parents are home their ability to assist their kids is limited.

  • Participation Decreased

Engagement is a key component of learning because without it, learning simply can’t take place.

During the pandemic, students of color were more likely to decrease their overall level of participation across academic subjects and some never participated in virtual classes at all.

  • More Likely to Stay Remote

Now that many districts across the country have returned to in-person classes, black and hispanic students are more likely to stay remote even when they lack the appropriate resources at home.