African children with donated school supplies from Develop Africa, Author DevAfrica (CC BY-SA 4.0 International).
According to Save the Children, one billion children worldwide are currently out of school because of coronavirus lockdowns [1A]. Roughly half these do not have access to distance learning.
Children kept home from school are likely to lose learning and fall behind. They are, also, more vulnerable to abuse, as there is no one to intervene on their behalf.
Expenditures on the coronavirus (and increasing poverty as a result of the lockdowns) are expected to create a $77 billion gap in education funding for the world’s poorest children, over the next 18 months [2A]. Those living in overcrowded migrant camps and conflict zones will be the hardest hit [1B].
As many as ten million children will not return to school at all, forced into the labor market or early marriage [2B]. These will be mostly girls, further deepening the educational divide which already exists along wealth and gender lines.
Teen pregnancy and child marriage are both predicted to increase. Continue reading
West Philadelphia residents recently camped out in the January cold, in hopes of assuring their kindergartners admission to a public elementary school. Granted, this particular school has had better than average results.
Devoted parents everywhere can understand the motivation of these mothers and fathers. The real question is why such an extreme step was necessary. Why in the United States of America, in this land of milk and honey, a good education is not the right of every child.
Are the children at the back of the line less deserving or those whose parents were unable to participate at all? Perhaps we should come right out and institute a trial by fire, a sort of educational Olympics. There is already a lottery in place for charter school slots.
Until we value every child, regardless of economic status, this nation will be the loser.
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