Evolving School Societal Landscape As Impacted COVID-19 2020: A School Counseling Perspective: Evidence Based Best Practices
J Addict Psychiatry Ment Health
Background: In 2019, data was gathered and determined the occurrences of violence, crime, school shootings, and bullying on campus; majority of the students attending our public schools are from lower socio-economic status at the poverty level; and a large proportion of the students need mental health support constitute the nation’s public-school landscape. This landscape serves to validate the need to implement innovative schoolwide student support services in schools to improve student performance. A year later, COVID-19 emerged in 2020 and affected this landscape. The disruption of the pandemic on schools, daily lives of students, and services lost to students from lower socio-economic status led to the need for updated school landscape data. This paper is a comparison review of the landscape studied in 2019 and the resulting 2020 landscape as affected by COVID-19 pandemic. The review indicated school violence, crime, and bullying except for cyber bullying subsided due to school closure. Three major trends dominate the current school landscape. One is the need for student mental health support has increased in numbers and severity. Two is the majority of students attending public schools from lower socio-economic status at the poverty level are not only growing in numbers, but their poverty level is becoming more extreme. Finally, gaps in access to student support services resulting in disparate school experiences and school performance outcomes that exist between students from socio-economic classes and racial groups are widening. This disparity not only affects the students’ current academic lives but will have impact in all aspects of their lives in the future. The call for innovative evidence-based practices of implementing school wide academic recovery and social emotional learning development program is introduced to start the discussion in addressing this updated school landscape caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: A review of current journals, reports and research as related to school performance, including school policies and practices; latest finding in education best practices; recent research on coronavirus pandemic responses, inequities; and resulting impacts is conducted to validate an updated school landscape.
Results: This paper confirms the evidence for the second landscape, School Societal Landscape: COVID-19 2020. Supporting data of student achievement nationwide using data of high school diploma graduation and test scores provided the baseline for school performance and varying differences among socio-economic classes and racial groups. Comparison data of the original landscape of 2019 and current updated 2020 school landscapes substantiate the landscape changes in schools. The widening of pre-existing divides prior to COVID-19 and exacerbated by the pandemic is defended by the data presented in this report. The disparity of student services, school experience and school performance outcomes premised on social class and racial groups is real as presented by the data. Students in lower socio-economic status at poverty level and from ethnic minority groups makeup the majority of the students in public schools and rank lower in academic achievement than their affluent White peers. School closures due to COVID-19 isolated these students from their peers. They also suffer academic learning loss and social learning experiences. School-wide academic recovery and social emotional learning development programs are introduced to address the current landscape trends.
Conclusion: Three trends, increasing student mental health needs; large majority of students from lower socio-economic status at poverty level attending our public schools; and widening gaps of student differences in access to services and school experiences and performances are supported by data in this report to constitute the School Societal Landscape, COVID-19 2020. This study begins with establishing an academic baseline using a two-year comparison of California’s high school diploma graduation rate (pre-pandemic 2019 and pandemic 2020). Graduation rate stands at 85 percent for both years. Continuing with California, a minority majority state with a diverse population, the ethnic breakdown is Latinx make up the largest racial group at 54.90 percent and the majority White population stands at 22.40 percent. The data indicate ethnic minorities groups score lower on academic performance indicators, particularly in math. California schools mirror the gap as spoken that lower socio-economic minority students from poverty make up most of the student population. Disparities in inequity to access of services resulting in gaps of responses to school closure, instructional needs, resource funding, and education are displayed in this report. Like the research findings, California students at the poverty level attend under sourced schools that do not have books, credentialed teachers, counselors, extracurricular activities technology, and many other students support services like their affluent peers. Schools vary and differ on these aspects and are referred as high poverty/high performance, low poverty/high performing, and high poverty/low performance schools.
Keywords: Minority Majority State; Underserved Minority Students; Marginalization; Inequity; Disparity; Access to Services; Flexible Resources; Socio-economic Status; Racial Groups; High Poverty; High Performing; Low Performing