A new report published by Scholastic has revealed that ninety percent of educators in Florida say that their students experience barriers to learning outside the classroom.
The Teacher and Principal School Report shows that Florida’s educators are more likely to report inadequate access to the internet and other resources outside of school than any other state. In total, the report surveyed roughly 5,000 pre-K – 12 teachers and principals nationwide, including 250 from Florida.
Many of the teachers cited family and personal crisis’s, lack of access to English language learning support and poverty as the main barriers that affect learning outside of school. Additionally, other factors include homelessness, going to school hungry, lack of mental health, and other healthcare services.
Low-poverty schools are not immune to students experiencing the difficulties of learning at home. Two-thirds of educators reported that many of their students also suffer learning outside.
The report also revealed just how many educators are focused on reaching out to families and local residents to support students’ learning. In Florida, this is especially important, as the report also revealed that 56 percent of Florida teachers reported a lack of family involvement versus the nationwide average of 48 percent.
In Florida, it was revealed there’s a lack of funding for high-quality instructional materials. Fifty-three percent of Florida teachers say they have used their own money to purchase class materials, up to an average of $548 a year. Most of the state funding is spent on testing and voucher/charter schools, leaving little to no funding left for instructional materials.
In Collier County, a teacher at Lely High School has admitted she spends at least $1000 of her own money every year to purchase her students school supplies and snacks. Lely High School offers free and reduced-price lunch; many students who are qualified don’t apply. Undocumented students are reluctant to share personal information and others do not sign up because of shame.
The question is what can you do to help?
If you are a parent, get involved with your child’s outdoor learning experience and facilitate an environment where they can thrive. Additionally, reach to other parents, community members and educators and find out if you can be of any assistance to them.
Reach out to LCLAS. If our services aren’t needed, we are in contact with many other non-profits that may be able to assist your child or children in your community.