Paula Knows the Importance of Equity
I had a student whose parents were divorced and shared custody. Lots of students in Jeffco have similar living arrangements. In this student’s case, it meant that he spent the night in Mom’s car one night and Dad’s car the next. Amid the obvious disadvantages to this was the fact that he had nowhere to recharge his school-supplied Chromebook after a full day’s use, and therefore no way to complete work at home or come to school with his laptop ready for a new day. I set him up to come in early to charge his Chromebook in my classroom, and he did have time during study hall to plug in and do school work, but if he had homework beyond that, he was in a bind.
And I taught in a relatively affluent area of Jefferson County. Very, very few of my students slept in cars or couch-surfed, and to my knowledge, none was living in a hotel. For educators in other Jeffco schools, students in such circumstances are much more common. Some students need considerably more than a free lunch and a Chromebook, and the more disadvantaged students a school serves, the more resources it needs.
Add the trials of online schooling during a pandemic, and it is easy to see that equity is an important issue in education. Jeffco has a responsibility to fairly distribute resources for educational opportunities to all students.