The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the inequities within and between communities. Educators are more aware of the digital divide as they struggle to connect and work with students from historically marginalized communities and students with disabilities.
In districts serving the most vulnerable students and families, educators have needed to focus their immediate attention on making “resources, basic needs support, and technology assistance” available for remote learning. During this time, some teachers learned that there are gaps in their teaching, and have made it a priority to change their instruction with an equity lens to ensure their most disadvantaged students get the support they need.
“It has really brought to light the inequities within our district and schools. We can’t allow a student’s home life to determine their level of education. We need to find ways to reach every student.”
– District leader
While many practitioners report new or heightened challenges due to COVID-19, many others say that their priorities—engaging students and families—have not changed. Educators agree that focusing on the needs of their students is key, and that students should drive decision making in education.
By comparing survey responses from Spring 2019 and Spring 2020, we’re able to see the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on educators’ priority challenges. Explore the interactive visualization of the results.
We hope the findings from this survey will encourage the field to focus resources on addressing the priority areas with the greatest potential for impact, and to continue to learn about practitioner experiences and needs.
Additionally, Digital Promise has developed webinars, playbooks, and resource libraries to support educators—of all subject areas and grade levels—who are tackling these challenges and planning for digital learning in the wake of COVID-19. Many of these resources are also useful for families facilitating at-home learning.
Finally, to understand challenges in your own setting and move toward action, explore the following Challenge Map Discussion Guide to discuss these issues with teachers, administrators, parents, and/or community members.