Evidence of COVID-19’s Impact on K-12 Education Points to Critical Areas of Intervention

Anna Saavedra:

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) began tracking social, economic, and education outcomes among Americans through its nationally-representative online panel, the Understanding America Study (UAS)  with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Science Foundation. Between April and October 2020 we administered five rounds of questions to approximately 1400 households with at least one child in Kindergarten-12th grade, asking about COVID-19’s effects on K-12 education. We collected five waves of data from these same parents between April and October 2020, and we will continue to administer questions over the coming months.

Below are the key findings we have found thus far.

At the Beginning of the Pandemic, We Found Large Disparities in Educational Experiences

In April 2020, only about two-thirds of households with income less than $25,000/year had computers and internet access available for children’s remote learning, compared to 91% of families with household incomes of $75,000-$149,000, and 98% of those above $150,000.