MSEA says they include lack of access to technology and food insecurity.
Annapolis, Md (KM) The COVID-19 pandemic and the school closures which followed highlight the problem of poverty among some public school students in the state. That comes from Cheryl Bost, the President of the Maryland State Teachers Association.
“We’ve had them all along, but it has exposed the lack of access to technology that many of our student living in poverty, or living in very rural areas, don’t have access to. And that’s mostly in pockets of poverty,” says Bost.
In addition, she says, a number of students are “food insecure,” meaning not sure when they’re their next meal will come from. “So far in state, they’ve given out eight-million meals to our students alone,” says Bost. “So we have too many people living in a state of poverty.”
Because schools are closed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, a lot of those students don’t have access to free and reduced-price meals provided at their schools. Many school systems, including Frederick County, have provided meals to go for students who would normally have breakfast and lunch on school days inside their classroom buildings.
Bost says Blueprint For Maryland’s Future could have helped mitigate some of the poverty experienced by some students in the state. “We know here in Maryland studies have shown that we fund our more affluent schools at a greater rate than those serving students in poverty,” she says. “And Blueprint for Maryland’s Future was to turn that around to equal the playing field for all of our students.”
Last week, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed that bill. In his veto message, he said the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic makes it impossible to fund any new programs or impose any tax increases.
By Kevin McManus