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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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Shanghai: China’s Potemkin Village

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Following a recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has imposed a month-long draconian lockdown on the residents of Shanghai. The CCP has used the outbreak to persecute its own citizens, including through forced evictions and quarantines, and placing alarms on doors to prevent COVID-19 people from leaving their homes. The harsh measures have resulted in food and healthcare shortages and separation of families.

But of course, we wouldn’t know that by reading the CCP-run press readily available in the United States. Instead of presenting the facts, the CCP engages in a comprehensive propaganda campaign that props up Shanghai as a Chinese Potemkin village. The CCP media asserts that China’s actions in Shanghai are benevolent and wise, while Western criticism is a product of malice. Chinese state-run media also insists that the Shanghai lockdown promotes economic stability in China and the world.

Claim 1: China Has the Best Policy for Combating COVID-19

The CCP media portray the Shanghai lockdown as the best and ideal policy. As cited by a XinhuaNet editorial, “China’s dynamic zero-COVID approach” is “the best option to save lives,” according to a “Rwandan researcher and publisher,” “…a miracle for us to learn,” according to a Kenyan scholar, and “a very ideal response,” according to Ethiopia’s National COVID-19 Response Task Force Coordinator. According to CCP media, Chinese citizens have greeted the Shanghai lockdown warmly, even with “[a] mixed sense of intensity, unity and hopefulness,” according to China Daily.

Claim 2: The West Hypocritically Defames China

The CCP press also accuses the West of lying about the Shanghai lockdown, and using COVID policies for nefarious ends. According to XinhuaNet, “Shanghai…has never imposed what Western media described as a ‘lockdown.’” Other CCP editorials actually accuse the West of malice. One Global Times editorial claims that the lockdown “has been deliberately exaggerated by the West.” Another Global Times editorial asserts that the Western approach of “coexisting with the virus” amounts to a way “…to drive out a large number of the vulnerable people with low immunity,” and a form of “cruel social Darwinism.”

Claim 3: China’s COVID Policies Result in an Economic Windfall to China and the World

The CCP also portrays the lockdown as necessary to achieve great economic growth in China and beyond. One Global Times editorial, while conceding that the lockdown amounted to a “sealing-off,” it is “a temporary measure to better resume work and production and to make the economy and society function more effectively. Its effectiveness has been proven.” According to another Global Times editorial, China’s policy is “widely considered to be the best strategy…to both contain the epidemic and ensure stable economic development.”

In an Orwellian fashion, Chinese press claims that China is solving, not causing, the world’s economic problems. According to XinhuaNet, “China has played a decisive role in stabilizing the global economy and resuming the supply chain disrupted by COVID-19.” Citing a Bloomberg article, the same XinhuaNet editorial claims that China “has prevented a huge number of deaths at home and ensured that everything from iPhones and Teslas to fertilizer and car parts continues to flow to the rest of the world.” Chinese citizens, of course, are collateral damage: Ji Qiwei, vice-general manager of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle, stated that “The domestic market may be impacted a little by the COVID-19 outbreak this year, but our export market will continue to see strong growth,” according to China Daily.

While the world continues to suffer economic and human damage as a result of COVID-19, China continues to revise history regarding its role. Through its propaganda in its English publications of Xinhua, China Daily, and Global Times, China seeks to portray itself as a benevolent force in the fight against the virus.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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