As A Na⁠t⁠⁠i⁠on, We Mus⁠t⁠ Do Be⁠t⁠⁠t⁠er By Our S⁠t⁠uden⁠t⁠s

January 16, 2024

Kayla Maloney

CALN Project Manager

Child Taking Classes Online

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, CALN does not take stances on social issues and political questions. That being said, we do call into question instances where there are or will be clear implications of learning loss for students across the country. 

It is time to address the fact that as a nation, we are failing our minority students, as well as our students who need extra care. 

Last week, almost 2,000 illegal immigrants were packed into the gym of James Madison High School in Brooklyn, NY, because of the storm that devastated the East coast, according to the NY Times. In order to make room for them in the school, the students were sent home to learn online. 

James Madison High School has 53 percent minority enrollment, and ranks almost 400th place out of 571 New York Public High Schools. Someone must draw attention to the fact that this is an example of our nation’s failure to prioritize our minority students. 

Forcing children to learn online is incredibly disruptive to their rhythm, comprehension, and focus. This is true even for students who rank above their grade level in math and reading proficiency, so what are the implications of displacing children, many of whom already need extra help? 

Brooklyn parents have been weighing in on this very question. 

One mother, Elina Bekker, stated: 

“We were concerned how will this affect those students in the future if it’s a one-time thing, but if it’s going to be a recurring event, it’s definitely not acceptable. 

“The school should not be used. Our kids are supposed to be here feeling safe and able to learn. Many of our kids have Regents [exams] coming up in February [and] they just lost a day of school, a day of learning.” 

Perhaps the most heartbreaking testimony was given by a teenager a James Madison High: 

“I do believe they are putting the life of people who are here illegally and not documented over my life. I am a 15-year-old girl at the school who wants to get her education and better her life, and [I] can’t come to school today because the day was interrupted by people who aren’t supposed to be here.” 

As a nation, we must do better. We must ensure that our children and parents are confident that they are in good hands. We must actively combat learning loss, not proliferate it. We must prioritize academic excellence, student achievement, and public safety in all of our schools, for all of our students. 

For a more detailed account of these events, please visit these articles: