In a year of interrupted, inconsistent, and often virtual learning, when a majority of students didn't have the same access to resources such as laptops and WiFi, COVID-19 only further illuminated opportunity gaps that have always existed, and these barriers disproportionately impacted communities of color.
With the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan and the inclusion of the Summer Learning & Enrichment Collaborative, there is a record amount of funding available for learning recovery. However, we need to ensure this funding does not go to waste and that it intentionally addresses learning gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. This means prioritizing existing programs like Horizons that are ready to support students' recovery, not just this summer but over the long-term.
In 2020, the need to create more opportunities for all young people to thrive and be successful came into sharp focus. COVID-19 spotlighted the disparities we’ve combated for years in under-resourced communities across the country. According to Pew Research, the majority of U.S. students don’t have the same access to resources such as laptops and WiFi, which have posed barriers to education in the time of virtual learning. These barriers, according to PEW, disproportionately impact communities of color.
What many students and families say they need right now is something we’ve been doing successfully for decades. With high-quality opportunities to learn, a strong sense of community, and close, supportive relationships, all students can recover from COVID-19 learning loss -- and excel even further ahead.