Children from High-income vs. Low-income Families during Online Learning
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Written by: Krysta Reveche
Date: October 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed everything: work, lifestyles, mental health as well as school. During these unprecedented times, it is especially hard for children to adjust to this “new normal”, as it is important that at their age, school is where they can gain new skills and build healthy relationships with their friends and staff that would set the foundation for their future learning.
There are thousands of children currently doing online classes instead of learning in-person to reduce the spread of COVID. Most students agree that learning in the classroom is better than learning from the screen because one gets more interaction from their peers and teachers, therefore it is easier to communicate.
However, there is a gap between students that come from low-income families and those that come from more affluent families. Those that come from wealthy families are most likely to prosper in online learning because they have everything accessible: faster internet, laptops, extra devices, extra materials, and other supplies that would help support their learning. They are also able to stay healthy during this pandemic.
Students from low-income families don’t have the same luxuries. They may have little or no internet, they don’t have the devices or even extra materials that would help support their learning. It may also be difficult for them to keep healthy, because their parents may have to work harder to pay for the bills at home or get food on the table. On a side note, many low-income parents have become unemployed because of the pandemic.
Last September in Salinas, California, 2 girls were seen outside of Taco Bell using their free WiFi just to do school work. They along with their other sibling and mom were kicked out of their apartment months ago, leading them to live in their car. This family has gained a lot of support after this event went viral, but this is one of the many stories that illustrate the hardship of families like them. It shows that no matter what, they would persevere to get the education they need, even if it means sitting outside a fast-food chain just to acquire an internet connection.
While the students from high-income families can be given a private tutor to supplement their learning, students whose parents have to wake up early in the morning for work have to take initiative and help support themselves or their families.
Schools have to be more aware of this gap, as online learning is putting a burden on those that come from low-income families that not only worry about school but worry about their real-life situations.