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The program will address disparities in education, which have grown worse during the COVID-19 crisis.

PMG FILE PHOTO - A City Club online event will look at the impacts of schools that have been closed during the pandemic.Eleven months ago, the closure of Oregon K-12 schools launched what for many parents and children has been a bizarre and incredibly disruptive, difficult experience, one that some call tragic.

Already significant, disparities in school achievement based on race, ethnicity and wealth have grown. Many parents, those with the financial means, have set up "pods" of self-funded learning for their children, paying tutors or even full-time teachers.

Other parents have had to cut back on work hours to help their child learn remotely, thus increasing inequities.

How, then, can the state's educational system recover and move forward as schools reopen? A panel of educators will offer answers at an online discussion on Friday, Feb. 12, hosted by the City Club of Portland.

Called "The State of Education in Oregon," the event will feature Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero, Gresham-Barlow School Superintendent Dr. Katrise Perera, and Miriam Calderon, the director of early learning for the Oregon Department of Education.

Toya Fick, executive director of Stand for Children, will moderate the discussion. XRAY.FM and Pamplin Media Group are media sponsors of the event.

City Club leaders said the educators will talk about "what they've learned about learning over the past year, what policies will be at the top of their agenda over the next few years, and what innovative approaches can improve learning and set kids up for success."

The group will speak even as a group of parents push for more aggressive reopening than Portland so far is planning. To date, the district is planning a partial reopening centered around "hybrid" learning, part remote and part in-person. But many details remain unclear.

Meanwhile, following a successful ballot measure campaign, Multnomah County is launching a program intended to address inequities by ensuring preschool for all. How precisely that effort will coordinate with public schools also remains unclear.

In another push to address inequities, Portland Public Schools has earmarked 2020 bond funds to build a Center for Black Student Excellence.


To sign up for the discussion, click here.

To read about increasing disparities during distance learning, click here.

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