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The Educational Resource Gap / By: Celena Ho


Education is expensive, but it’s not the cost of college tuition that we’re talking about. Instead, it’s the cost of educational resources during a child’s elementary through high school years. Although it’s nowhere near the amount one would pay for college, it is a significant cost that can add up, especially after the years of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic where schools closed down and students spent their class time online. A lot of students came out of these years needing extra help with their academics, noticing how they had a difficult time learning remotely due to trouble focusing or lack of in-person help. According to UNICEF, “at the end of January 2022, more than 616 million students worldwide were still impacted by full or partial school closures. (Diallo, 2022)

Time spent in quarantine also highlighted the resource gap between high and low-income families. In a study conducted by the Brookings Institute, a research facility in Washington D.C, test-score gaps between students in low-poverty and high-poverty elementary schools grew by approximately 20% in math (corresponding to 0.20 SDs) and 15% in reading (0.13 SDs), primarily during the 2020-21 school year. (Kuhfeld, Soland, Lewis, Morton, 2022)  Part of the reasoning for this is because higher-income families have the financial ability to pay for resources like private tutoring and extra practice books if their child is struggling academically, while low-income families may not have the option to do this.

However, some organizations are working to provide accessible educational resources to relieve the resource gap. Amanda DoAmaral, the founder of a website called Fiveable that provides free study guides and practice questions for AP subjects says, “The challenge that we have is that so many students don’t have resources available to them through public means.” And when asked if making educational resources affordable was one of the reasons she founded Fiveable, she replied, “Definitely. I taught in Oakland (CA) at a public high school, and many students didn’t have public resources to supplement what they were learning in school.

Nikita Agrawal, the founder of FinPro World, a student-run non-profit organization committed towards educating students on finance topics with the use of computer programming, pointed out how COVID-19 “set some educational milestones back,especially because COVID also caused family incomes to drop (so) having low-cost or free educational resources are really important.

Although it’s clear that more educational resources need to be made affordable and accessible for everyone, it’s great to see that some people are creating organizations and programs with this in mind in order to help others and better their education.


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