For Immediate Release
Contact: John Coneglio
COLUMBUS – May 7, 2020 – The Columbus Education Association (CEA), the union representing more than 4,000 education professionals in Columbus City Schools (CCS), today released the results of a survey completed between April 10, 2020 and April 15, 2020 by more than 2,200 CCS educators regarding student engagement in virtual learning during the ongoing COVID-19 school shutdown. Along with the results of a March 2020 CEA survey on student technology access and related issues, the data shows the extent to which existing equity and funding issues have been exposed by the COVID-19 epidemic.
“Everyone in our Columbus City Schools community; students, families, CEA members, district administrators, and our OAPSE sisters and brothers, are all doing everything they can to keep learning going” said John Coneglio, CEA President, “but this data highlights the extent to which this epidemic has exposed the failure of our political leaders to address long-term societal equity and school funding issues that our CCS students disproportionately face.”
According to respondents, only 54% of Columbus students have participated in online learning across all grade bands, with higher participation at the elementary level (65% participation) and lower participation at the middle and high school levels (51% and 49% respectively). The rate of participation was even lower for students in Special Education (46%) and English Language Learners (35%). When asked to provide reasons given by family members for non-participation of students amongst those who could be contacted, common answers included multiple students with only a single device, language barriers, health issues, homelessness, feeling overwhelmed, living away from home, and working parents unable to help during the day.
In an earlier March 2020 survey of CEA members, 68% of respondents estimated that 50% or less of their assigned students had regular internet access at home. Nearly 60% of CEA members reported providing care for one or more minor family member of their own while continuing to work full time online.
“This epidemic has hit frontline essential workers and communities of color the hardest. In large part, these are our students’ families.” said Coneglio. “In addition, despite the heroic work of CEA members and other CCS employees, our broken school funding model leaves districts like ours squeezed for resources for the students who need them the most. This unprecedented crisis has further exposed these fault lines and highlights the need to redouble our fight for educational equity and the schools Columbus students deserve.”
The Columbus Education Association is the union representing more than 4,000 teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, psychologists, and other education professionals in Columbus City Schools. The Columbus Education Association is a proud affiliate of the Ohio Education Association and the National Education Association.