April 5, 2021

Iris Comens Rotberg: How we can all help reduce school inequities

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Iris Comens Rotberg is a research professor of education policy at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, The George Washington University. In a recent op-ed for The Morning Call, she makes a plea for folks who are worried about pandemic inequities in education to expand their focus.

Public officials wring their hands about inequities that arise from teaching online rather than in person. Yes, the inequities are real. But how many who now argue to reopen schools (even while the pandemic is far from over) have been just as concerned about the inequities that preceded the pandemic?

The inequities in the education system last, not for the duration of a pandemic, but for students’ entire school experience, from preschool through elementary and secondary school, through college and beyond.

We can only hope that when the pandemic is over, those who now agonize about inequities linked to the pandemic will speak out about the pervasive inequities in schools and in society at large.

We can also hope that those who now fill the internet with exhortations about learning loss will express concern about the massive resource disparities across the country — and will question decisions to draw school district boundaries and attendance zones within districts specifically to segregate students.

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