By Jessica Struhs, Troy Smith, Beth Clifford, Preston Faulk and Cole Smith; first published on EdNC.
This data summary analyzes trends in the NC District Responses to COVID-19 School Closures database completed on June 5, 2020, which is an update of the database first published on April 23, 2020. In developing the database, researchers first searched for districts’ publicly posted distance learning plans on district and school websites and social media pages. As a follow-up to the initial research, EdNC sent a survey to North Carolina school districts in an effort to fill in gaps and gain context for district and school responses. This database thus reflects publicly posted distance learning plans as well as districts’ self-reported responses to COVID-19 school closures. Note that the database shows what districts report they are doing, but it may not reflect actual implementation.
In an effort to illuminate statewide trends and explore equity gaps among North Carolina districts’ responses to COVID-19 school closures, the Public Impact data team broke out each indicator in the database along seven district characteristics, as shown in the table below: percentage of students of color, district wealth, district size, percentage of students receiving free and reduced-price lunch, county computer and internet access, percentage of students who are in special education, and percentage of students who are English language learners.
For each characteristic, researchers placed districts into four quartiles, with quartile 1 representing the most advantaged condition and quartile 4 the least advantaged condition. The trends captured in this data summary reflect the gaps between quartile 1 and quartile 4 districts. In deciding which data points to highlight here, researchers identified those that represent the largest gaps between quartiles, as well as trends related to current education debates on equity occurring in North Carolina.