A new study conducted by Rutgers University showcases how remote learning has put New Jersey lower-income K-12 school districts students and teachers at a disadvantage.

According to the study, “students in lower-income school districts experienced inequities in online teaching and learning opportunities, compared with students in middle-income and wealthier districts.”

Additionally, many teachers had a difficult time getting remote learning lesson plans prepared during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the pandemic created challenging emergency remote teaching conditions for students across income brackets, teachers from lower-income districts reported more challenges in students’ consistent access to working, functioning computers, issues with networking connectivity and bandwidth, and gaps in prior student and family digital literacy needed to effectively use e-learning tools,” said Rebecca Reynolds, an associate professor in the Rutgers School of Communication and Information.

Some of the other important findings from this study were the following:

  1. Teachers from lower-income districts reported “larger attendance gaps as barriers to online instructional delivery, reporting student absences ranging between 30 percent and 50 percent during the initial lockdown.”
  2. Shortages in devices, particularly in lower-income districts during this timeframe, requiring children within families to share school-issued laptops.
  3. An over reliance on online-learning technologies not tested for evidence-based effectiveness in supporting student learning processes and outcomes.
  4. Elevated anxiety and stress among teachers and students.
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