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Texas Education Agency data shows minorities and low-income families struggle with online learning

The new school year is set to start next month, but new data from the Texas Education Agency shows minority families are struggling while learning from home.

AUSTIN, Texas — New Texas Education Agency data shows almost 10% of Texas students lost engagement or contact in online schooling. The data shows it's worse among minorities and low-income families. 

"Is every child give then same resources and have the same chances to recieving an education? To that, that is no," said Alfred Bradford, a Mendez Middle School teacher, in AISD's equity summit on Tuesday.

This is an issue the TEA mentioned in other recent documents. They said, “students from low-income ZIP codes decreased progress in online math coursework by 55.6% compared to January 2020.” 

Bradford is an AISD math teacher and he thinks the pandemic highlighted the inequities in the school system. According to AISD, educational equity means that each kid receives what they need to develop their full academic and social potential.

The district held an equity summit allowing AISD community members, teachers, students and leaders to discuss home learning, equity investments and technology and equitable outcomes. Many in the summit had a lot of concerns about several topics, including technology access.

"When it was time to go to online education, we had students not getting a computer until almost the last week of school. So how is that equitable?" said Bradford.

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Jeanine Doyle, another AISD teacher at Lee Lewis Campbell Elementary, agreed with Bradford. 

"Looking forward, it would be great that the kids had all the technology including primary because primary grades did not get technology. It was from third grade and up," said Doyle. 

Community Equity Summit: Our Voices, Our Stories

Austin ISD is proud to offer streaming of our Community Equity Summit: Our Voices, Our Stories via Facebook Live. If this stream is ever unavailable, please visit AISD.TV or Channel 22 for the official live broadcast of the meeting. Community Equity Summit: Our Voices, Our Stories Engage with AISD students, families, teachers, staff, and community members as they share their individual and collective stories about: - #AISDatHOME: Learning while at home - How we are investing in equity - Language Access - Technology and achieving equitable outcomes Student art, musical performances & celebrations will be featured! Hosted by the Austin ISD Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness Office.

Posted by Austin ISD on Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Austin ISD's preparing for a hybrid model starting Aug. 18, but that could change. Leaders said in the summit that they're planning to distribute 10,000 hotspots to students who need it and they're planning to try their best to reconnect with families. 

"We have to stay centered on equity and really protect those students that we know who are most disadvantaged by this entire pandemic," said Nicole Conely, AISD chief of business and operations/CFO. 

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