The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed greater than 100,000 lives throughout the nation, with greater than 500 of these deaths right here in New Mexico. Communities of coloration are among the many hardest hit by this pandemic, which has additional uncovered deep social inequities in our society. The pandemic, nevertheless, additionally presents an excessive amount of alternative as we rebuild our society and form our new regular. From guaranteeing entry to wash water on the Navajo Nation, to entry to well being look after all residents with out regard for immigration standing, COVID-19 might be the impetus to make the kind of systemic modifications wanted to construct a extra equitable society the place each individual has the chance to dwell wholesome, fulfilling lives.
That is additionally true of our public training system. On this second we’re confronted with the chance to reimagine a system that serves all kids no matter race, socioeconomic or immigration standing. The present system has created a major alternative hole for college students of coloration. We additionally know that the chance hole begins at an early age, with kids of coloration being much less more likely to have entry to high quality early studying applications, which set the muse for lifelong studying.
Nonetheless, as we emerge from the present disaster, we are able to reimagine an equitable system knowledgeable by college students, their households, and lecturers. We’re grateful to the N.M. Public Training Division and Albuquerque Public Faculties, which tailored rapidly to make sure that kids may proceed their training with as most of the wrap-around companies college students want like entry to meals and expertise. Town of Albuquerque responded in type by for offering entry to the web via buses, libraries and different means.
However we should do extra. In our work with households and their college students, we’ve discovered that though low-income households obtained a laptop computer to assist college students entry on-line studying platforms, a lot of these households had been unable to successfully use the laptops or navigate these platforms. Assuming that distance studying shall be a part of the brand new regular, NMPED and faculty districts throughout the state should put money into technical help helps. In APS a lot of our lecturers needed to pull double-duty as educators and technical help suppliers for college students and their households – that is unsustainable and unfair to the coed and to the instructor.
We should additionally assume very severely about the way to proceed to have interaction households in significant methods. NMPED and native districts ought to associate with respected community-based organizations to assist have interaction households in inventive methods. For instance, in the course of the first 10 weeks of the pandemic PCA mum or dad volunteers carried out 15 household engagement classes by way of Fb Dwell, partaking dozens of households from faculties throughout APS without charge to the varsity district. NMPED and APS should guarantee household engagement continues to be a precedence as we work to construct efficient, equitable distance studying fashions.