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caption: Hosts Asemayet "Mimi" Zekaryas and Essey Paulos pose for a photo on Zoom. As many schools switch to online learning due to Covid-19, some students thrive while others fall behind. How does inequities in school funding play a part in these disparities, and which students are the most vulnerable?
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Hosts Asemayet "Mimi" Zekaryas and Essey Paulos pose for a photo on Zoom. As many schools switch to online learning due to Covid-19, some students thrive while others fall behind. How does inequities in school funding play a part in these disparities, and which students are the most vulnerable?
Credit: KUOW PHOTO/Asemayet Zekaryas and Essey Paulos

For students of color, Covid-19 reveals deep inequities in Seattle area schools

High school looks different this year for most students: classes on Zoom, drive-through graduations, social distance birthday parties, skipped proms.

But some students have more pressing worries as classes move online. How do you make the switch to online learning when you don’t have wifi at home?


RadioActive’s Mimi Zekaryas and Essey Paulos look at the education gap between schools in wealthy areas and those where most students come from low-income households. They talk to students Paul Noone, from Mercer Island High School and Kidist Habte, from Rainier Beach High School, about their very different experiences with online education during the Covid-19 school closures.

We also have to understand that the youth are really under immense pressure as it is . . . especially now, and it really shouldn't be us carrying the burden of creating solutions. Unfortunately, this is really just another example of the adultifying of black and brown children, by making them responsible for what should've been adult jobs. Kidist Habte

Julia Warth, the director of Policy and Research at the League of Education Voters, talks about potential long-term impacts of the education gap between students who attend schools with lots of resources and those whose schools are underfunded, as well as between white students and students of color.

She asks if the pandemic might provide an opportunity to fix this broken system.

caption: (Left) A visual comparison of percentage of students from low-income homes at Mercer Island High School (3%) and Rainier Beach High School (72%). (Right) A visual comparison of the money raised by the Parent Teacher Student Associations (PTSAs) at Rainier Beach High School and Mercer Island High School in 2018. Money raised by PTSAs is sometimes used for materials, supplies and operating costs, like hotspots and laptops.
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(Left) A visual comparison of percentage of students from low-income homes at Mercer Island High School (3%) and Rainier Beach High School (72%). (Right) A visual comparison of the money raised by the Parent Teacher Student Associations (PTSAs) at Rainier Beach High School and Mercer Island High School in 2018. Money raised by PTSAs is sometimes used for materials, supplies and operating costs, like hotspots and laptops.
Credit: Graphics by Charlotte Engrav

This story was created in KUOW's RadioActive Advanced Producers Workshop for teenagers, with Charlotte Engrav as the executive producer and production support from Mary Heisey. Edited by Kelsey Kupferer.

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