May 15, 2020

On today's show Adrian and Ethan talk about the achievement gap and how it is expected to explode as a result of the pandemic. Later, we listen to Part 1 of an earlier interview with Communities in Schools.

As education has moved from the classroom to the living room, parents and students alike are concerned if remote learning is giving the students the same chance for success.

The problem is even more worrying for low-income students and those who do not have access to technology or reliable wi-fi. Remote learning provides significant challenges.

As we’ve talked about before, the public-school system in the U.S. has historically seen inequities in education. The achievement gap has gained national attention in recent years and is measured by standardized tests, grades, course selection, high school dropout rates, college completion rates and more.

The gap has frustrated educators for years — children of college-educated parents typically surpass about 60 percent of all students in math and reading. For children whose parents have only a high school degree, it’s about 35 percent.

Parents with less education must rely on material they can find on the web or on lessons sent home by teachers on-line. But many teachers are now busy with their own children. Even where they attempt it, many disadvantaged students don’t have internet access: 35 percent of low-income households with school-aged children don’t have high-speed internet and the gap is greater for African-American and Hispanic families.

Communities in Schools is the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization. Their mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

Across the country, approximately 1 in 5 children under 18 live in poverty. Without community support, they are more at risk for missing school, dropping out and failing to earn a high school diploma. By helping our most vulnerable students stay in school and succeed in life, we are building stronger, healthier and more economically stable communities where every person is capable of reaching his or her greatest potential.

Communities in Schools works directly inside schools, building relationships that empower students to succeed inside and outside the classroom. The organization works directly in 2,300 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia. The founder, Bill Milliken, said “It's relationships, not programs, that change children.”

UPDATE: During a normal academic year, 22 million students rely on schools for access to regular meals. Now with students out of the classroom, Communities In Schools affiliates across the country are working with community partners to provide food and essential items to those students and their families. Their volunteers and site coordinators are packing baskets of food, delivering items to families, and working with local organizations to obtain necessities for those in need.

In an earlier interview, Bev had the opportunity to talk with Natalie Rutledge, Executive Director of Communities in Schools, Marietta.