In The New York Times articles, the majority of the authors argue that remote learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused students to disproportionately suffer and calls on a variety of people to address this suffering. On the other hand, RiShawn Biddle showed his appreciation for remote learning because of the presence of health risks and health inequities in an opinion piece for The New York Times.
In Are We Losing a Generation of Children to Remote Learning?, Ginia Bellafante shows that the disadvantages of Zoom learning is affecting students, especially those in low-income and minoritized communities. Bellafante emphasized her point by strongly stating, “even as the virus seems well contained and research has shown transmission in schools to be minimal, we remain free to eat thin-crust pizza under a heat lamp while children are sequestered at home – socially isolated and less able to distinguish an isosceles triangle from an equilateral one as they ought to be,” (Bellafante). In When School is Voluntary, David Leonhardt showed how the COVID-19 pandemic is ignoring the idea and importance of universal schooling. Leonhardt includes data to argue that children are not doing as well in school as they should be. Leonhardt believes that the continuation of remote learning will be “another force that contributes to rising economic inequality in the U.S.,” (Leonhardt). Sarah Mervosh echoed these sentiments in her piece, The Pandemic Hurt These Students the Most, and showed how the already existing education gap “has become a gulf.” On the contrary, in an opinion piece called Don’t Kill Remote Learning – Black and Brown Families Need It, RiShawn Biddle argued how remote learning should continue to be used because it minimizes health risks that disproportionately affect minoritized families. Furthermore, Biddle notes that school districts have already invested so much money into it, so it makes sense to continue using it.
These articles were interesting and well-evidenced. In many of the articles, there was data included that emphasized the poor performance and experiences that children have with remote learning. Despite the heavy investments into remote learning and the convenience of it, I do not think it should universally continue post-pandemic. Like Bellafante noted, multi-sensory instruction is important, which is more muted online. Personally, I have two younger siblings in elementary and middle school. They are much more motivated to learn and stay on task when they are in-person with their peers and teachers. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were already existing inequities and disparities in educational and health outcomes on the basis of race, income, gender, and much more. The pandemic has exacerbated these inequities and brought them to the forefront. Going forward, there must be programs, policies, and practices that address these problems and work to close the widening “education gulf” that we have now.