Despite increased depression and child abuse rates among online students, there is now a new reason parents want to keep their children home from school: racism.
According to the Los Angeles Times, 43 percent of black parents in the Los Angeles Unified School District who kept their children at home said that they were worried about “bullying, racism and low academic standards.”
The survey was commissioned by Speak Up, an organization that seeks to give parents a “voice” in education policy. Prior to surveying the issue in the California district, the organization also analyzed district information and conducted focus groups with students.
There were roughly five hundred district parents surveyed, 96 of whom were black. The sample roughly matched district demographics.
Much of the survey addressed the impact of COVID-19 on student education oer the past year. According to EdSource, fewer than half of California students have returned to the classroom either full-time or part-time as of May.
Only 12 percent of LAUSD high school students have returned to campus, the Times reported.
More black parents were surveyed as a result of student focus groups that Speak Up conducted earlier in 2020. The survey itself was overseen by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research and lasted from March 18 to 23.
The survey’s margin of error was +/- 4.5 percentage points.
“Black parents were able to see how their children were treated by their peers and instructors while kids learned at home, and in some cases, saw a system that did not benefit them,” the report said.
In a recent NPR poll, 62 percent of parents reported feeling that their children’s education had been disrupted. Despite this, 65 percent of black parents still have their children in remote learning.
In February, the school district said it would put $36.5 million toward an “achievement plan” for black students, with $25 million of that budget coming from diverted school police funds.
The money will largely be used to fund counselors, nurses and “restorative justice” officers.
L.A. Unified board member Tanya Ortiz Franklin shared her belief that strategic action must be taken.
“This report reminds us that we are not just recovering from 15 months of a global health pandemic, but also from over 400 years of neglect, abuse and mistreatment,” Franklin said.
“This coming school year, particularly with the additional relief dollars, is an important opportunity to collectively plan, act, reflect and serve in truly anti-racist ways that result in transformational outcomes for our Black scholars in L.A. Unified.”
Some parents have praised the district’s policy.
One mother, Michelle Tillet, who has a second-grader in the district, called distance learning “beneficial” as she could see whether the school was helping her daughter.
“I was worried about distance learning at first, but I now see that it’s very beneficial to have her at home because I am able to see what’s taking place in the classroom, and whether or not the curriculum is set up to benefit her as an African American student.”
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