“Widening the gap,” what experts fear continued remote learning will mean for students


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)— On March 10th, 2020 Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the state’s first cases of COVID-19. In the weeks to months to follow, businesses would be shut down, large gatherings were prohibited, and kids were sent home, to begin a year, where they would mostly learn online.

Fast forward a year, and experts say, while the true long-term effects of remote learning remain unknown, but they fear it could widen the gap, between students who excel in the classroom, and those who need a little extra help.

“The circumstances in which children are engaging in remote learning are not the same for all students,” says Lori Skibbe, A Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University.

“In some cases, there have always been differences between our highest and lowest achievers and this is bringing some of those differences to light. They estimate that some students might actually make more gains in reading and so what we’re looking at is perhaps more of a gap between children who are already not doing well in school and those who have traditionally done quite well.”

Today members of the Michigan Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee held a hearing, where they heard from parents and educators, who say it’s time to get back in the classroom. Those testifying like Skibbe worry about the educational effects remote learning has on their children, and the stress it’s also adding to parents.

“It’s hard to ask a young child to stay engaged on a task independently,” said Skibbie “I think a lot more education is falling on parents than in prior years.”

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