Press Release

Statement from Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Executive Director of The Education Trust–West, on Governor Newsom’s Announcement that Most School Buildings will not Reopen at the Start of the 2020-2021 Academic Year

“It is clear now that distance learning will be a part of our children’s education for the foreseeable future, and our state needs to provide the resources to ensure it is done well and equitably for all students — especially students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, and English language learners. Governor Newsom and the legislature have taken important steps to provide much-needed funding to support schools in the fall, but we have more work to do to close the digital divide and to ensure the live, daily instruction that students require to learn and thrive. This moment is a test of our values. If we truly believe in the promise of equal opportunity for all students, now is our chance to prove it.”

 

Background

In a survey of California parents this spring, The Education Trust–West (ETW) found that alarming percentages of students of Black and Latinx students and students from low-income families lack sufficient devices and internet access to successfully engage in distance learning. Parents identified interaction with teachers as a top priority, but Black families were less likely to have been contacted by teachers, and just 31% of all parents reported that their school or district was providing instructional materials for English learners.

 

Last week, ETW provided recommendations to improve the California Department of Education’s draft template for local educational agencies’ Learning Continuity and Attendance plans.