California Parents Speak Out on Learning Loss
Addressing the academic and social-emotional impact of distance learning on kids
Over the past year, we have heard hundreds of parents across California share how the pandemic and distance learning are affecting their children’s present and potentially their future.
Parents and teachers are doing the best they can right now, but they can’t do it alone. We have a responsibility to the next generation and must invest more state, federal, and local funding for years to come to give our kids what they need to catch up, recover, and thrive.
Here’s what parents want our elected leaders to know.
The pandemic has hit some communities much harder than others and not all students or families have had the same resources to weather this difficult time, nor received the same educational support. After nearly a year of distance learning, many low-income students are still disconnected from school, without functioning tech devices or a reliable internet connection. Low-income Black and Latino students have also had less access to their teachers and received less high-quality instruction. Many were already behind grade-level before the pandemic and have fallen even further behind due to the lack of support.
Students with Special Needs
There are students with special needs who have services that need to be in person – such as occupational, speech, and physical therapy. Other students who are struggling academically aren’t being evaluated or have experienced significant delays in updating their IEPs (individualized learning plans) to better support their learning. This is a direct result of assessments being postponed or suspended during the pandemic.
“Whether [students] have special needs or not, they need socioemotional support.”
– Carmen Rodriguez, San Francisco, CA
“That is why I ask [legislators] with all my heart to listen to our concerns and needs. Thank you.”
– Martha Vargas, San José, CA
“I ask that you please give us more funds to support our students. This year, due to the difficult situation we are experiencing, our children have been held back.”
– Maria Ramirez, San Francisco, CA
With distance learning, many English learners are not getting as much exposure to the language as they did in-person. This is slowing down their progress not only in English, but other subjects, and making it even more challenging for them to get reclassified. Language barriers are also standing in the way of parents and teachers partnering to support kids.
Watch the full playlist of parents speaking out!
It’s clear kids need:
More Learning Time and Individualized Support
Most kids have lost out on learning time and are behind in at least some subjects, sometimes by as much as a full year or more. They need diagnostic testing so teachers can understand and meet their unique needs, increased live instructional time (like summer school), and individualized support (like individual and small group tutoring and learning pods). Students will continue to need those supports even after schools reopen.
Parents ask legislators to provide additional funding for individualized support, diagnostic testing, and increased instructional time for the most underserved students – students with special needs, English Learners, and low-income students of color.
“We are asking that you take into account funds so that there can be independent tutoring, since we know that there is tutoring in the schools but they are not very efficient.”
– Norma Diaz, Los Angeles, CA
“We are raising our voices on behalf of our students so that there be less delay and division and more action and multiplication.”
– Isis Cedeno, San Francisco, CA
“We all need necessary, emergency help with learning loss.”
– Aida Vega, Los Angeles, CA
“This pandemic has changed our lives, and, as a community, we need to help children re-adjust.”
– Maria Guadalupe, San José, CA
Socioemotional and Mental Health Support
Most children are under extreme stress with a complete disruption to their routines and relationships. Many have lost family members and friends to COVID-19 and anxiety, depression, and social isolation are all at record highs. Kids need positive social connection with peers, teachers, and counselors to support their healing.
A Community of Caring Adults
Repairing the damage is critical and schools can’t do it alone. Many community organizations – including nonprofits, libraries, youth centers, and tutoring providers – have stepped up during the pandemic to provide essential academic and social-emotional support to families and students – often covering their costs with private funding and grants.
Parents call on legislators to invest more public funding in this year’s budget in nonprofit organizations and public agencies (including cities and counties) that are providing critical support to youth and families.
“[Students need] good quality tutoring that guarantees learning. Thus, recovering from the impact of distance learning, and instead having a good impact on their future.”
– Katy Meza, Los Angeles, CA
“[I want to see] the creation of spaces where they (students) can learn positively and overcome the challenges that this pandemic brought. That should be the priority.”
– Maria Cristina Gomez, San José, CA
Petition CA state legislators
As California figures out how to transition from distance learning to safely reopening schools, we must also figure out how to provide the extra support that kids need to recover, catch up academically, and thrive. Researchers are already seeing widespread academic and social-emotional needs and estimate that a majority of CA public school students will need to catch up by an extra year or more.
CA lawmakers are making important decisions right now – let’s make sure they understand how this pandemic is impacting our children!
To: Governor Gavin Newsom and CA Legislators
We are California families asking you to increase funding in this year’s budget to give kids:
- Increased live instructional time
- Individualized support like tutoring and learning pods
- Mental health support
The students most impacted by the pandemic should be prioritized – students with special needs, English Learners, and low-income students of color.