Apr 28, 2020 - Axios Events

Common Sense Media CEO: Coronavirus puts education equity "at extreme risk"

The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing problems with education equity in the United States, Common Sense Media CEO Jim Steyer said at an Axios event Tuesday.

Why it matters: A survey by Common Sense Media, an educational non-profit, found that black and Hispanic teens were more likely than white teens to say they were worried about falling behind in their studies as a result of in-person classes being canceled.

  • There is an additional online learning gap that has become even more obvious during the coronavirus, as 12 million children do not have at-home connectivity, Steyer said.

Yes, but: Steyer said that the coronavirus crisis also presents an opportunity to close that digital divide, noting that there are three ways he believes the U.S. can make "major strides" in confronting the issue: providing devices for all kids, increasing connectivity in their homes and ensuring they have access to high quality content.

The big picture: Steyer said he doesn't think a full virtual experience will ever replace classroom teaching, noting the importance of in-person relationships, but argued that "we're never going to go back to the same form of education that we had before the epidemic."

  • "I think we're going to see a blend of certain kinds of distance learning and online learning within class experiences," he said.

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