Lower-income students are already more likely to be behind in school than their higher-income peers, but the COVID-19 pandemic worsened that gap. Betsey Stevenson, professor of public policy and economics, explained how the pandemic hit lower-income households harder.
"We have this bifurcated society where some kids’ parents are in their 20s and some kids’ parents are in their 40s," she said. "People who are a little bit older have more established work lives. That just means higher incomes. Everyone is earning less in their 20s than in their 30s. And for people with higher education that curve is steeper."
With this gap, low-income students are more likely to have poor wifi connection or devices, both of which are necessary for virtual learning.
"Kids are resilient and they learn something, so the question is going to be what each kid learned," Stevenson said. "That’s going to be very different."