July 12, 2020

HANNA LEONE: Chicago Public Schools aren’t connecting with thousands of students – still

A story in the Chicago Tribune says that as many as 44,000 students have been out of touch with the Chicago Public Schools’ remote learning scheme.

As you should expect, the problem hits black and Latino students harder than others.

Hanna Leone writes:

More than two months since schools statewide closed their doors because of COVID-19, Chicago Public Schools has been unable to contact more than 2,250 students to determine whether they have digital access, according to newly released data.

And though the district is requiring schools to make contact with each student at least once a week, no school contact was recorded with 15% of students for the week of May 11, the only week broken down in data provided by CPS. That’s about 44,000 students whom schools didn’t hear from that week.

More than 93% of students in district-managed schools have digital access and have connected in some way, according to the district. That’s a long way from where things stood at the start of remote learning, before 122,000 Chromebooks or similar devices were loaned to students.

But that still leaves out thousands of students, who still need access to computers or reliable internet. About 5%, or 15,600 students, have made contact but are considered nondigital.


African American and Latino students, whose communities have been hardest hit by the coronavirus, were least likely to use Google Meet or Classroom, based on data for the week of May 11. About 70% of African American students and 78% of Latino students accessed the platforms at least once, compared to nearly 87% of both white and Asian students in first through 12th grade.

The gap was similar when looking at graded assignments, with grades recorded for 77% of African American students, 85% of Latino students, 89% of multiracial students, 91% of Asian students and 92% of white students in first grade through high school. (Preschool and kindergarten students use a greater variety of platforms and less Google, and don’t receive graded assignments, so they weren’t included in some calculations.)

Read the whole story here.

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