Quality of Public Education During the Pandemic Expressed by Black Parents and Students.

Kai Davis

Data News Weekly Contributor

Roughly a year in, students of New Orleans had to adjust to online learning for most of their time in school. Around January 4, 2021, majority of the public schools in New Orleans closed their doors to students and faculty moving in-person learning to at-home learning.

“The education system is worse due to this Pandemic as it was already dysfunctional and antiquated. Children are suffering as they try to learn virtually,” said Rosean Porter, mother of two who attend Edna Karr High School and REW SciTech Academy and Minute Clerk.

From increased numbers of COVID-19 cases, the City of New Orleans forced public schools to convert in-person learning to remote at-home learning to better ensure safety for students and teachers.

As of January, more than 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported. Today, roughly 450,000 confirmed cases have been reported.

This Pandemic has been nothing but difficult for most families and posed drastic challenges, both parents and students had to face.
“The challenge that my family has with at home learning was keeping my child motivated,” said Danielle Johnson. “My daughter responds better when she’s in the classroom, at home learning isn’t a good fit for every child, definitely not mine,” Johnson added.

For parents like Johnson, it has become even more difficult converting in-person education to at-home due to the fact of her child being a senior. Where activities were cancelled, connecting with friends, and finding the want to return to school held students back from enjoying their last year in high school.

“I never had a problem with her going to school, she actually looked forward to going. But when she became used to staying at home, when time came to return to school she did not want to go,” Johnson said.

The Pandemic has caused teachers to develop new ways to teach students, that have become difficult for them to learn and efficiently complete assignments.

“I have to constantly be involved with my son when it came to his assignments. He would not take things seriously until all of his grades were failing,” said Desedra Stepter, mother to graduating senior at Warren Easton Charter High School. “I felt I was failing as a parent, although some of it was the school system’s fault by not communicating the way they should have with the students,” Stepter said.

“Many challenges attempted to bar my path of success in school, virtual learning has not only caused my lack of communication, but it also played a role in my languidness,” said Derine Steed Corsey, senior at Warren Easton Charter High School.

NOLA Public School, which oversees 78 public schools in the city, plans to reopen schools through the NOLA Public Schools Roadmap to Reopening Schools. With COVID-19 cases dropping within public schools, by this time next year, the city can fully welcome students back.

In early February, schools reported more than 1,000 new weekly cases, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. During the last week of March, schools reported 467 new cases. More than 70 percent of Louisiana students are currently learning in-person full-time, according to the state Department of Education’s tracker. Upon upcoming changes, public schools are required to report positive COVID-19 test from both students and staff to continue the school year safely.

“For many of the students, they felt like they don’t matter anymore. Hopefully, next year, schools can return to some sort of normalcy with the thought of students in mind,” Johnson said.

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