LOS ANGELES, CA – Black and Hispanic students, low-income students, and students with disabilities did not regularly participate in remote learning once schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Compared to more advantaged students, fewer middle and high school students who are Black, Hispanic, living in low-income households, classified as English learners, have a disability are in the District’s homeless program or are in foster care participated across all measures of online schooling, according to the report.
On average, weekly remote school participation by Black and Hispanic students were 10 to 20 percent lower than their Asian, white, Filipino, and multiracial peers. At the beginning of the health crisis, 50 percent of Black and Hispanic students in middle school participated, compared to 68 percent or more of their peers, according to the report.
By the ninth week of remote instruction, 60 percent of Black students in middle school and 61 percent of Hispanic students had participated at least once that week, compared to over 80 percent of their non-Hispanic or Black peers.
On average, less than half of students classified as English learners participated in remote learning each week, which is 20 percent lower than that of students who are English-proficient, the report said. In middle school, participation by English learners peaked at 56 percent. In high school, participation remained stable at 50 percent, peaking at 57 percent.
Each week, students living in low-income households participated in online learning at lower rates than students who live in higher-income households.
In middle school, participation by students who are not living in low-income households was approximately 20 percentage points higher than participation by students living in low-income households. According to the report, the same pattern was true for high school students although with a smaller gap: 10 points.
According to the report, there was also a notable gap in participation between students with disabilities and their peers. Each week, only about half of students with disabilities participated in online learning. In middle school, participation by students with disabilities grew to 50 percent from 34 percent in the beginning. In high school, participation by students with disabilities remained stable at 50 percent.
Students in the homeless program participated at a far lower rate than their peers. In middle school, students in the homeless program or foster care participated 44 percent of the time. In high school, students in the homeless program or foster care participated 48 percent of the time.
The report looked at data from March 16 to May 22 and analyzed different levels of activity such as simply logging in, viewing content, engaging in discussion, and submitting an assignment.
The report suggests the District may need to improve its distance learning program participation for secondary students in the fall of 2020. One suggestion to do so includes developing and providing a weekly engagement record to reach students.
Amid spiking coronavirus cases, Los Angeles Unified School District campuses will remain closed when classes resume next month, Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday, defying President Donald Trump’s demand that students return to in-person instruction.