Parents, experts worry that online learning is exacerbating the digital divide

When schools shut down last spring, Nero Persaud balanced working from home and her two children’s remote-learning needs by “playing musical chairs” with her older laptop and iPad.

But after deciding to enrol her son and daughter in online schooling this fall, the Toronto mother signed up to borrow devices from the school board because she knew they would all require their own computers.

“The device has become a standard part of the educational arsenal, the same way as books and pencils,” said Ms. Persaud, a single parent who works in marketing.

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Despite efforts by school boards to provide computers to students who need them for virtual schooling, many parents and experts worry the expansion of e-learning is exacerbating the gap between families who have access to computers and broadband internet and those who do not.

“The digital divide is real,” said Beyhan Farhadi, a post-doctoral

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An Impossible Choice For Homeless Parents: A Job, Or Their Child’s Education

The closure of school buildings in response to the coronavirus has been disruptive and inconvenient for many families, but for those living in homeless shelters or hotel rooms — including roughly 1.5 million school-aged children — the shuttering of classrooms and cafeterias has been disastrous.

For Rachel, a 17-year-old sharing a hotel room in Cincinnati with her mother, the disaster has been academic. Her school gave her a laptop, but “hotel Wi-Fi is the worst,” she says. “Every three seconds [my teacher is] like, ‘Rachel, you’re glitching. Rachel, you’re not moving.'”

For Vanessa Shefer, the disaster has made her feel “defeated.” Since May, when the family home burned, she and her four children have stayed in a hotel, a campground and recently left rural New Hampshire to stay with extended family in St. Johnsbury, Vt. Her kids ask, “When are we going to have a home?” But Shefer says she

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Some schools drop online learning program after parents complain it has racist, sexist content

Zan Timtim doesn’t think it’s safe for her eighth-grade daughter to return to school in person during the coronavirus pandemic but also doesn’t want her exposed to a remote learning program that misspelled and mispronounced the name of Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last monarch to rule the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Timtim’s daughter is Native Hawaiian and speaks Hawaiian fluently, “so to see that inaccuracy with the Hawaiian history side was really upsetting,” she said.

Even before the school year started, Timtim said she heard from other parents about racist, sexist and other concerning content on Acellus, an online program some students use to learn from home.

Parents have called out “towelban” as a multiple-choice answer for a question about a terrorist group and Grumpy from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” described as a “woman hater.” Some also say the program isn’t as rigorous as it should be.

The Hawaii Department of

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Parents: Online learning program has racist, sexist content

HONOLULU (AP) — Zan Timtim doesn’t think it’s safe for her eighth-grade daughter to return to school in person during the coronavirus pandemic but also doesn’t want her exposed to a remote learning program that misspelled and mispronounced the name of Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last monarch to rule the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Timtim’s daughter is Native Hawaiian and speaks Hawaiian fluently, “so to see that inaccuracy with the Hawaiian history side was really upsetting,” she said.

Even before the school year started, Timtim said she heard from other parents about racist, sexist and other concerning content on Acellus, an online program some students use to learn from home.

Parents have called out “towelban” as a multiple-choice answer for a question about a terrorist group and Grumpy from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” described as a “woman hater.” Some also say the program isn’t as rigorous as it should be.

As

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TPS parents push for district to return to in-person learning; superintendent’s recommendation to be made Monday | Education

Deere said she plans to attend Monday’s rally because she doesn’t believe the numerous emails sent to board members and administrators are working. She said she hopes that if enough people show up in force, then the district might listen.

But if TPS decides to stick with distance learning, she said her plan is to transfer her children out of the district. That outcome would be especially devastating to her son, who attends Thoreau Demonstration Academy and who would lose his spot if he leaves.

“They just can’t keep doing distance learning,” Deere said. “My boys seem to be coping a bit better, but my daughter, she’s not.”

Danny Daniels, whose son attends Eisenhower International School, is pushing for the district to abandon district learning because of the lack of social interaction between students and their teachers and peers.

Like Deere, Daniels said he thinks the best way for families

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Cumberland parents have own online classes to help their children with remote learning :: WRAL.com

— School leaders in Cumberland County have put together a program to help parents navigate their children’s virtual educational world.

The Cumberland Family Academy allows parents to log into a Zoom chat room every Thursday evening, where teachers explain the software students are using for remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Parents also can ask questions about any problems their children are having online.

“We understand that homework time and virtual learning time can be a challenging time for families,” said Lindsay Whitley, spokesman for Cumberland County Schools. “We want to provide support so that our parents and families feel comfortable in the role of supporting their children at home.”

The online academy is taught in English and Spanish, and the district provides an encore presentation in English every Tuesday on Facebook and YouTube.

Njeri Fikes said her role as a

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5 ways parents can help kids thrive amid remote learning

Although schools across the country have been back in session for a few weeks, and some even longer, it can help for parents to take a step back periodically and evaluate how it’s going so far. Especially if your child has been participating in virtual learning or a blend of online classes and attending school in-person a few days a week. 

“Not every learning environment works for every child and now is a good time to evaluate what works for your child,” says Peter Robertson, president of Laurel Springs School, an online school that’s been providing distance learning for nearly 30 years.

“Any parent knows that transitions are the hardest things for your family,” says Sarah Brown Wessling, an Iowa-based teacher who won the prestigious Teacher of the Year award in 2010. But parents shouldn’t forget that they’ve made it through transitions before, likely dozens of times before the Covid-19

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Everything Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting Financial Aid and Student Loans

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Families across the nation spent $30,017 on college costs for the 2019-2020 academic year, according to Sallie Mae’s How America Pays For College 2020 study – and plenty have received financial help.

The first step for high school seniors who plan on attending college and need help paying for it is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available on Oct. 1. The form is used by the federal government, states and colleges to award a wide array of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and loans.

For many families with not enough money saved for college, and a shortage of grants and scholarships to cover college costs, tough decisions will need to be made about about whether or not to take out student loans and for how much, as well as whether the high cost of college is worth paying off debt for decades.

″My

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5 things parents should note about Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s level 1 briefing

By Lifestyle Reporter Time of article published4h ago

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Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Thursday hosted a media briefing on key developments in the education sector relating to Covid-19 level 1 restrictions.

“The sector is proceeding well under difficult conditions; and we commend the work done by our dedicated teachers and staff to ensure that the system returns to some semblance of normalcy,” said Motshekga.

Motshekga’s announcement comes as the country eases restrictions in level 1.

But she noted there was cause for concern. “We are however, concerned that there are learners who have not returned to school yet.

“In the schools that we have visited, the return rate is between eighty to ninety percent. While it is encouraging to see the numbers increase gradually, we appeal to parents release their children to return to school,” she added.

The below developments have been

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Pinellas County parents can request learning option change for Q2

If they don’t want to make a change, no action is necessary.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — If you’re a parent in Pinellas County, you can request to change your child’s learning option for the second quarter of the school year.

The coronavirus pandemic has led many families to choose online instruction this year. But, they’re not necessarily tied to that selection.

The new quarter begins Oct. 27 for Pinellas County Schools, and parents who believe their students would be better suited in a different learning format now have a choice.

Using an online form, parents or guardians can request to switch their children from remote learning to traditional face-to-face instruction. Alternatively, they can request to remove their children from traditional instruction and have them learn online instead.

The school district said all requests would be reviewed based on available seats and teaching staff.

RELATED: State database for COVID-19 cases in

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