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Report Shows Massive Number of Students Are Receiving No Online Instruction During Shutdown

The report card is in on Chicago’s remote learning efforts that began when schools closed in March due to the coronavirus.
The grade is an F.
Less than 60 percent of Chicago Public Schools students connect to online remote learning three or more days per week, data unveiled Wednesday revealed, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
That result comes despite a massive push to provide laptop computers to students that resulted in 93 percent of Chicago’s students having digital access to their lessons.
The report focused on the week of May 11. On the upside, 85 percent of all students were contacted by their schools at least once that week, whether for academic or emotional support reasons. But among high school students, 25 percent had no contact whatsoever with their schools.
According to the report, students are connecting more now than when schools closed in March and fewer than half of the city’s students connected with their school three days a week at that time.
Student engagement varied by race.
The report found that 87 percent of white and Asian students logged on to the district’s learning site at least once the week of May 11. Black students logged in at a 70 percent rate, while Hispanic students connected at a rate of 78 percent. Black and Hispanic students make up 83 percent of the district.
“Remote learning is not perfect,” Chicago Public Schools Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade said. “As an educator, I want to see all kids engaged. Ultimately that’s what I would love to see. But I know that remote learning is not perfect. So my expectation was growth.”
McDade said it was “disheartening but not surprising” that black and Hispanic students lagged behind.
Andrea Parker, a teacher at Chicago’s Fulton Elementary School, said only 51 of her 84 students check in at least once a week, according to WLS-TV.
“We’re doing whatever we can to make sure that students are constantly learning but it is definitely heartbreaking and overwhelming to see the lack of participation, like do my students really love me?” she said.
“All this lack of learning — it’s just too many different variables that can hinder a student’s learning progress.”
“They’re starting to call it the COVID slide,” Bill Curtin, of the teacher education group Teach Plus Illinois, said.
“We know there’s going to be a huge achievement gap after this crisis passes and when students return to the classroom and then that’s going to disproportionately impact our neediest and most vulnerable students,” Curtin said.
In April, McDade was upbeat about the district’s plan, according to WTTW.
“We want to keep our teachers teaching and keep our students learning,” McDade said.
“We know that there is no way that we can replicate the educational experience that our students have in the classroom, but we also know that we have to keep engagement, we have to keep our students connected to their school communities and our remote learning plan is really seeking to do just that.”
“We’ve also established multiple ways for our students to learn, whether it be directly through lessons that are streaming virtually, whether it be through enrichment projects and even daily independent reading,” she added.
“We know how important it is for our students not just to stay connected but we have to acknowledge the challenging times that we are in and how that plays a role in our students’ ability to learn.”

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