Press Release

Disproportionate reliance on remote learning highlights need for quality remote instruction and student support, with more data transparency to drive resources and services to the schools and students who need them most

NEW YORK – While half of New York State students are learning entirely remotely so far this fall, a data snapshot released today by The Education Trust–New York reveals that the schools with the greatest share of students from low-income backgrounds or students of color are far more likely to be learning remotely and less likely to have in-person learning than the schools with the smallest share of students from low-income backgrounds or students of color.

According to the data snapshot, New York State students enrolled in the schools with the greatest share of students from low-income backgrounds are 1.7 times more likely to be learning remotely than students in schools with the smallest share of students from low-income backgrounds and students in the schools with the greatest share of students of color are 1.4 times more likely to be learning remotely than students in schools with the smallest share of students of color.

The disproportionate reliance on remote learning for students who were underserved even before the pandemic raises significant educational equity questions for state policymakers and underscores the need for public statewide data on critical remote learning issues – like the availability of personal learning devices and high-speed internet, the amount of live instruction, and student attendance and engagement – that policymakers, educators, parents, and other stakeholders can rely on to identify and address the needs of students during this difficult time.

“The reopening guidelines issued by state education leaders represented a positive step on the path to reopening New York’s schools stronger and more equitably this fall,” said Dia Bryant, deputy director and chief partnerships officer for The Education Trust–New York. “Now it is imperative that all students have access to the resources and support they need to fully participate in learning, whether remote, in-person, or a blend of the two.”

The data snapshot is based on enrollment information each school district submitted to the New York State Department of Health for its “COVID-19 Report Card” as of October 7, 2020. The report cards provide – for the first time – a limited window into enrollment in remote and in-person learning.

Among the findings:

  • Across New York State, the data reveal that 50% of students are learning in-person (including students who are fully in-person and students who are in hybrid or blended models) and 50% of students are learning entirely remotely.
  • In New York City, about half of all students are learning fully remotely across schools with varying shares of students from low-income backgrounds and students of color.
  • In the state’s Big 4 school districts (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers), 82% of all students are remote, with only Yonkers reporting significant hybrid learning during this period.
  • In the rest of the state, students in the schools with the greatest share of students from low-income backgrounds are 2.1 times more likely to be learning remotely than students in the schools with the smallest share of students from low-income backgrounds. Students in the schools with the greatest share of students of color are 1.6 times more likely to be learning remotely than students in the schools with the smallest share of students of color.

Read the data snapshot and explore other resources here.