Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, online classes have been a quick fix for almost every school across America. Privilege breaks through during these hard times as some children do not have access to WiFi, while others can sit in their rooms all day by themselves with no distractions and a high tech laptop that sets them up for success. The impact that a lousy workspace and unreliable technology can have is drastic ㅡ not only the student’s grades but also the student’s well-being. An A average is three times more likely in private schools than public schools, which shows the inflation of grades. St. Paul Academy and Summit School has been extraordinarily lucky during this global pandemic due to the laptops that every student pays for and subsequently receives at the beginning of each school year. Each student has the same laptop so that work can be easily navigated by the teachers and members of the administration. SPA students now can do everything for online classes through their computers that students at other schools don’t have access to.
The education gap is one thing that separates SPA and other private schools from public schools. For private schools such as SPA, it is easier for students to access technology to use inside and outside of class. These machines are crucial in this pandemic. SPA students can attend online school without needing to worry about having access to a computer or other technological device to get onto Google Meet, receive and complete work, and do anything that might happen inside a usual classroom. On the other hand, public schools were far less prepared to move their curriculum online when the pandemic hit, causing many students not to have access to a device to complete their work on. Although most public schools have computer carts that are brought in and out of the classroom, they are not meant for individual use outside of school hours. Several GoFundMe initiatives and other fundraisers have begun to try and help underprivileged students receive computers or devices that they can use for distance learning. Thousands of students still do not have any way to do schoolwork at home, which can have a detrimental impact on their academic careers.
Throughout America, countless people have lost their jobs and the resources that guarantee them a meal. With the virus, people who have already been living from paycheck to paycheck have only been impacted harder. Millions of people who once had a stable job and steady income don’t have that same fortuity anymore. Less privileged families are ordinarily having a tough time trying to find work and pay for their own children’s needs. Still, due to COVID-19, it is almost impossible to find a stable job. One way to help could be by doing some random acts of kindness. This could include buying lunch for a stranger or giving money to a homeless person, as anything helps during this trying time. Many children’s only source of food throughout the day is school-provided lunch. There have been numerous food shelves and donations made to these families, but it is not enough. The people getting hit the hardest by this dangerous virus are those who cannot support themselves – not the people who can’t see their friends for a couple of months. Privileged students need to stop complaining about how poorly the pandemic has been with online school – others who have it much worse.
Along with the education gap is the racial achievement gap that profoundly impacts many students of color. The racial achievement gap can spawn in many different ways, including home life and overall racism. Join a protest or campaign against these inequalities as they will never go away if action is not taken.
Minneapolis Public Schools have recently voted on a revamp that they hope will dismantle the achievement gap between students of color and white students in the school district. Most teachers and even parents were highly against hosting the event virtually, meaning that there was no public comment on the matter. The plan is highly necessary, but in actuality showed no real proof that anything will be done, causing many parents to warn that they may pull their child out of school, leaving a lot of problems floating around in Minneapolis.
Even though everything going on in the world right now is problematic, the teachers at SPA and other schools across Minnesota genuinely deserve so much gratitude and praise for the job they have done throughout the past months. Their ability to create fun and creative lesson plans that keep students engaged over a computer needs to be recognized. Thank you, teachers.
Do something that can better the community of St. Paul, Minneapolis, or another local city. Do something small each week of summer that will help better the community, whether that means supporting small businesses or legislative action, donating to local food shelters like Friends in Need or CES. Make donations to the CDC or other COVID-19 relief foundations that could help find the cure. Help your community by any means necessary – for the good of everyone.
Note: This editorial was scheduled and written before the murder of George Floyd.