How to achieve equity of opportunity when access isn’t equal

May 29, 2020 Sarah Williamson By Sarah Williamson
Sudent smiling holding a tablet

COVID-19 has transformed discussions about equity and supporting our nation’s most vulnerable students. With the large-scale shift to online learning, educators have had many questions, but one that has frequently risen to the top is equity and providing equitable access to all students. This topic has also emerged front and center as one of the challenges for districts in supporting remote learning programs.

We know this has been an overwhelming time for districts and administrators who are doing the best they can (as we all are!). In our latest podcast, we discuss replicable strategies, resources and lessons learned on how to ensure remote learning programs support educational equity.

One of our guests, Raymond Rose, is the Chair of the Public Policy Committee at the Texas Distance Learning Association. He is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished visionaries defining and building online learning communities for more than 15 years.

He created, and administered the first virtual high school in the country, and his background encompasses technology in education, innovation and digital accessibility to online learning.

Kelsey Ortiz, the founder and director of the Inclusive Digital Era Collaborative at the KU Center for Research on Learning, also joined us for this episode. Kelsey supports state efforts for deeper policy on digital learning and equal access for all students.

Her work includes development in online learning environments, compliance training in virtual schools, and advocacy for parents seeking equitable school choices. She previously conducted two large scale policy studies on special education policy in virtual schools, across all 50 states and eight territories, and the largest study on parents of children with disabilities enrolled in virtual schools.

In this discussion, both Ray and Kelsey share their definition of equity and how they would describe providing equitable opportunities for students. They also offer their perspective on what they believe are major considerations districts need to be thinking about when it comes to equity.

Throughout the rapid shift to online learning, they share some of the new opportunities we have seen arise in our efforts to reevaluate equity in education and strategies districts are using that ARE working.

On the flip side, Kelsey and Ray also weigh in on some of the areas where we can improve now that there is heightened awareness of equity and how to meet the needs of all students. They also discuss the potential we now have to support the unique needs of every student now and into the future.

We certainly have ground we still need to cover, but the pandemic has most definitely unveiled new opportunities on how we can all work together to meet the needs of all of students today and into the future. You can listen to our full conversation on equity or any of our other podcast episodes here:

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Apex Learning was recognized as finalists for multiple EdTech AwardsThe EdTech Awards recognizes people in and around education for outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology to enrich the lives of learners everywhere. Featuring edtech’s best and brightest, the annual program shines a spotlight on cool tools, inspiring leaders and innovative trendsetters. The EdTech Awards recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate the most exceptional innovators, leaders, and trendsetters in education technology. Check out the list:

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