Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

How The Pandemic Has Reshaped Education

 March 19, 2021 at 4:52 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday March 19th. >>>> How the pandemic has changed how we look at education... We’ll have that next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. ###### Nearly 30 percent of San Diegans over 16 have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine. Still San Diego County Public Health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten is urging people to be cautious if going out, and to avoid high risk settings.. If people have not been vaccinated they are going to have an increased risk for contracting the illness if they are interacting with large groups.. Whether you’ve been vaccinated or not we’re asking you to avoid large groups. With spring break coming up Wooten says she is concerned about a potential rise in cases. Meanwhile...Governor Gavin Newsom says when the state first loosened coronavirus restrictions last year, there were mistakes in communicating with the public and that led to an early summer spike in cases. He says it’s [quote] “something we reflect upon all the time” as the state embarks on wider reopenings. ####### Law enforcement agencies in California are stepping up patrols in Asian American Pacific Islander communities…following the recent shootings at Atlanta-area spas. Officer Lizeth Lomeli of the Los Angeles Police Department says they’ve shifted resources to AAPI neighborhoods out of an abundance of caution. “We’ve augmented the deployment of our patrol officers and our senior lead officers. We’re having high visibility patrols on foot as well as in marked police vehicles.” San Francisco’s Police Department is also increasing patrols in those neighborhoods. In San Diego the police department says it’s relying on community liaisons to monitor concerns and respond to any acts of discrimination. From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. Distance learning during the pandemic has only worsened the achievement gap between students from marginalized communities and those growing up in privilege. But could there be some long-term benefits to this experience? As part of our series Pandemic Life: One Year On, KPBS Reporter Joe Hong considers COVID-19’s lasting impact on the school day. It was a big change. First you were in school and now you’re on a computer all day everyday. Monday thru Friday. Luis is a seventh grader currently attending Rancho Del Rey Middle School in Chula Vista. Like the vast majority of students in San Diego County, he’s spent the past year attending school through a computer screen. But he’s also struggled with the added stress of being separated from his family for most of the year. His mother who previously lived as an undocumented immigrant in San Diego, has lived in Tijuana since 2016. They’ve barely seen each other during the pandemic. Well I mean.. Not being with my mom for six months since like 2016 too… was hard for me because I don’t have my mom next to me so we can go out, go places, go shopping. Luis has been living with family friends since 2016. But even with their support, his grades have plummeted during distance learning. Luis and his guardians insist he’s doing all the work, but when he turns it in his teacher’s aren’t counting it. Well right now I’m not doing too good because they’re giving me Fs and Ds for all the work I turned in. They’re saying that they’re missing and they’re not turned in when I turned it in, and I saw them turned in. Luis has tried for months to get his grades fixed but with no success. Experts say Luis’s experience speaks to a huge underlying problem with distance learning: The lack of face-to-face contact between students and teachers has created in many cases a lack of trust and at least the perception that educators only care about the grade book and not the struggles of students. Christopher Nellum is the interim executive director at Education Trust-West, an education think tank based in the Bay Area. He says rebuilding personal connections needs to be the top priority when in-person learning resumes. Sure we have to be focused on the academics but in order for young people to be successful, they have to feel whole, and they have to feel taken care of and feel like the folks they’re around who they’re engaging with care about them. It’s also become clear that distance learning has widened an already large achievement gap between low-income students of color and their wealthier white peers. Kate Chasin lives in Tierrasanta, less than twenty miles up the highway from Luis, but their realities during the pandemic have been worlds apart. I don’t even know what to play honestly... Kate is a junior at Canyon Hills High School, formerly known as Serra High School, School has been stressful for her, but she’s maintained high grades. She’s also been able to continue her cello lessons virtually. Luckily I’ve been doing OK and getting my work in and I’ve had straight A’s thus far. Kate said she wants to study public policy in college and she’s even gotten involved in activism work raising awareness for teen mental health. She said her future goals have kept her motivated. I know it’s kind of cheesy, but the college search.. I’m looking at really competitive schools and you need really competitive grades in order to get into those schools. So, just that idea of in order to set myself up for success in the future, I need to be successful now. One expert says advantaged and motivated students like Chasin have fared better in the virtual classroom… but only as long as they have access to technology and a stable environment. Minjuan Wang is a professor of learning design and technology at San Diego State University. She said a silver lining to the pandemic experience is teachers have become more proficient at using technology. She sees an opportunity for them to use their new skill sets to better help struggling students even after schools reopen. I think after the pandemic some teachers might go into hybrid mode, if that’s a possibility. And they’ll definitely reach out to students who need more help by having a zoom session or any other online conferencing. And while Kate has done well during distance learning, she’s struggled with the social isolation and anxiety. But she’s completely aware of her privilege. The fact that I already had a laptop going into the pandemic. My family has wifi that has good bandwidth. So three of us could be on a zoom call at the same time. My parents can come home at the end of the night and I can be comfortable knowing they are making enough money for us to survive. As schools across San Diego County schedule to reopen, Kate says she and her classmates will work to make sure schools have the mental health resources to support students as they return to the classroom. Joe Hong KPBS News. And that was KPBS Education reporter Joe Hong... …. KPBS is also looking at small businesses who are among those who’ve struggled the most during the pandemic. Today we’ll hear from Miren Algorri who runs a child care business in Chula Vista. I am actually a second generation family child care provider, then when I became a parent myself, I decided to open my own family childcare because I didn't want to miss the first word, the first time standing on her own. It really was through the sisterhood. That's how I I got my my family childcare going. One hundred percent of the families who I have the honor to serve receive subsidy children get older and they, you know, they start either kindergarten or elementary and it just happens that we're in the midst of a pandemic. So we had to modify in and honestly at the very beginning and just improvise like, OK, so what do we have to do to to support the families? We have been able to get better Internet services so we can have those many devices from those young distance learners going we have been able to like. In my case, I invested in my outdoor area to bring the the classroom outdoors. these are the families. That have entrusted their children under our care. These are essential workers that have continue to put food on your table. They are the workers that have continued to clean it to keep the facilities where you will get tested for These are the same. X-ray technician that checked your lungs out when you had water in your lungs, so we have to support the community and it's never been that dought on on on our side. That story was produced by KPBS investigative reporter Claire Traegeser and video journalist Nic McVicker. For the other business profiles we’ve done, go to KPBS dot org slash small business. Coming up.... Organizers trying to recall Governor Gavin Newsom say they have all the signatures they need. We’ll have the latest on the recall efforts next, along with a preview of this weekend’s arts events next, just after this break. Organizers behind a push to recall Governor Gavin Newsom say they’ve submitted more than 2-point-1 million names ahead of their deadline this past [wednesday] night...about 1-point-5 million of those signatures need to be verified as registered voters, in order for the recall to qualify for the ballot. County election officials will spend the next several weeks verifying the petitions. Lead recall proponent Orrin Heatlie did not say whether his campaign would back a specific candidate to replace Newsom. For now, they say they will keep the focus on the governor. heatlie: and call him out on all these policies that have hurt california, and continue to drive this thing forward until we are across the finish line. we are not done until he is removed from office. ……….. Meanwhile, Newsom attacked the leaders of the recall campaign in a national TV blitz this week. He alleged they’re connected to far right militias and Q-Anon conspiracy theories. CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols fact-checked those claims in this week’s Can You Handle The Truth segment. He spoke with anchor Mike Hagerty. ANCHOR: Yesterday was the deadline for recall organizers to turn in signatures. And they say they have more than 2 million of them, well above what’s needed. But this was also a significant week for the governor. What did he do in response? CHRIS: Newsom was all over the national TV networks, including ABC, CNN and MSNBC … and during every appearance he defended his record ... which has come under scrutiny especially due to things like the strict stay at home orders. But Newsom also went on the attack against the recall campaign. Here’s the governor on ABC’s The View on Tuesday: 01Newsom: “The chief proponent of this, and forgive me this just objective truth, the chief proponent of this recall effort supports putting microchips into migrants, into immigrants. The other proponents, the top 10 proponents, the people that are behind this are members of the 3 percenters, the right wing militia group, the Proud Boys (who) supported the insurrection, are folks who quite literally, enthusiastically support QAnon conspiracies. And so that’s the origin.” (:31) ANCHOR: Let’s start with that first provocative claim about the recall leader wanting to “microchip immigrants.” What are the facts there? CHRIS: There is some truth to this. A retired Yolo County sheriff’s deputy ‘named Orrin Heatlie’ is the lead organizer of the recall campaign. Back in 2019 he posted on Facebook that it would be a good idea to quote “microchip all illegal aliens.” unquote. Heatlie has described his post in other media reports as “hyperbole.” And he said that his Facebook account was deleted. But Newsom’s political team provided a screenshot of that post, supporting the governor’s statement. ANCHOR: What about these claims that some of the recall proponents have ties to right wing militias groups? CHRIS: There’s also some truth to those descriptions. The Los Angeles Times investigated this topic in January. They identified an organizer in El Dorado County as a Three Percenter — that is an anti-government extremist movement, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The organizer has disputed that characterization of the group. ANCHOR: And ties to QAnon -- Was the governor right about that? CHRIS: Earlier this year, the recall campaign’s Facebook pages repeated some QAnon conspiracy theories such as the baseless allegation that the presidential election was rigged. That is also according the LA Times. I asked Sacramento State professor Kim Nalder about the governor’s statements and whether it’s accurate to say the recall leaders have ties to militias and QAnon. Nalder studies political psychology and disinformation. Here’s what she said: 01Nalder: “I think it is pretty legitimate to tie the initial (recall) effort to those groups,” Nalder said. “I think it becomes less persuasive when you get to the current movement, which has expanded far beyond those groups.” Nalder also said she’s examined images from the recall rallies and signature gathering events. She found examples of people wearing 1776 gear or carrying the Betsy Ross flag, both of which are associated with the 3 percenters. She said she also noticed plenty of QAnon flags and symbols. That was CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols speaking with anchor Mike Hagerty. Movie theaters are reopening, which is exciting news for people waiting for big Hollywood films like Godzilla VS Kong, the new Bond and Black Widow. KPBS film critic Beth Accomando says the only brand new film opening this weekend in a cinema is the real life spy story The Courier. The Courier is based on the true story of how British businessman Greville Wynne was recruited by MI6 to help transport crucial intelligence from a Soviet man named Oleg Penkovsky. CLIP I know you said you worked at the board of trade but is it possible you work for another branch of her majesty’s government. This is espionage more in the vein of John La Carre than James Bond. It is both fascinating and mundane. The interactions were designed to take place in plain sight and not involve any danger and for the bulk of the film that’s true. Wynne and Penkovsky engage in bland business banter while Wynne’s wife assumes his new secretiveness is to cover up an affair. This may not be the film to send you rushing back to the cinema but it’s definitely worth seeing to appreciate the bravery and human decency of these two men. Beth Accomando, KPBS News. If you're looking for some arts and culture this weekend, KPBS/arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans is here with this weekend preview... That's KPBS/arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

Distance learning during the pandemic has only worsened the achievement gap between students from marginalized communities and those growing up in privilege. But could there be some long-term benefits to this experience? Meanwhile, a full look at the recall efforts against Governor Gavin Newsom as recall leaders say they have enough signatures. Plus, weekend preview with KPBS’ Arts Calendar Editor.