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Report: Remote learning hurts minority, low-income children the most

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According to new data released by a San Francisco school district, low-income students have fallen further behind than higher-income students during the coronavirus pandemic.

Black, Latino and Asian students in San Francisco as well as students from low-income families have lost significant academic ground compared to wealthier and white students, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The study also found that Black and Latino students were more likely to be absent at least 60% of the time during the fall semester.

910 of the district’s 53,000 students missed more than 60% of classes, the district said. 70% of those were from low-income families and 75% were Black or Latino.

“There are so many kids in this pandemic who just haven’t been heard from at all,” UCSF director of COVID response Dr. Jeanne Noble said to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Nobel added that reopening schools is critical and can be done safely. “Every place you look — signs of social phobia and isolation all the way up to suicide attempts — screams crisis.”

The school district is working hard to reopen its doors to all students, but the district has yet to reach an agreement with labor unions on the conditions required to reopen. They hope to bring the youngest and most vulnerable students back first, after the health department inspects the school and classrooms.

“We are concerned the gap has widened, especially in elementary schools,” San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said. “We know remote doesn’t replace in person when it comes to serving our students. We want to return to (school) sites as quickly as possible.”

The district recently announced that it is unlikely the vast majority of middle and high school students will return this school year.

San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen has proposed a plan to help address the learning loss and other impacts of the pandemic on children.

Her plan includes raising upward of $2 million from public and private funding to pay for summer school, tutoring, smaller class sizes or any resources needed.

The school district’s data is “devastating, and it’s a call to action,” she said. “We are failing them right now as a society. This is families of color having the least secure housing, the least secure jobs. If you’re a parent and you’re worried about keeping a roof over the head of your child and putting food on the table, that’s going to take precedent over remote learning.”

“Let’s all wake up and stop pointing fingers at each other and start working together to address this head-on.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”

Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.

RELATED: De Blasio ‘sickened’ by Cuomo sexual harassment claims

“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”

“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”

This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”

RELATED: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment claims, saying he ‘may have been insensitive’

During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.

“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”

“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”

Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.

RELATED: ‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video

Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.

“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.

“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”

He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.

Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”

“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.

MORE ON CUOMO: NY dem says state legislature is ‘inching toward’ Cuomo impeachment probe

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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