AS THE pandemic settles in America, policymakers, government officials, families, and communities must consider how they will move forward in a post-pandemic world.

Everyone’s life has been greatly altered. Low-income students, however, are “at the epicenter of this crisis” said Shanequa Moore, the CEO and founder of I’Raise International Boys and Girls, a nonprofit organization that serves students from various disadvantaged backgrounds across New York City.

“They’re already dealing with issues… oppressive systems as a minority, and now you add another layer of this,” said Moore. “There’s just a lot they have to deal with they already have to struggle with.”

Many students in NYC are currently in situations unimaginable to us. While dealing with the anxiety and frustration that comes with the pandemic and quarantine, these kids may be subjected to greater degrees of domestic violence, abuse and other forms of traumatizing experiences.

Moore founded her nonprofit organization in an effort to support students currently not receiving enough help from their educational institutions and/or environment.

Her overarching goal is to close the achievement gaps that exist in educational systems today. Due to the current pandemic, all of her in-person programmings have transitioned to virtual sessions. After a rough period, Moore and her technical team were able to put together a virtual system for its students.

“We’re trying creative solutions to deliver the best for our clients.” she said, and adds that her team is also conducting two research projects to measure the effects of the pandemic on parents and student education in the long term.

The future of current students is uncertain. The state and policymakers have not yet made clear the next steps. But some things are becoming apparent: Achievement gaps that have always existed are going to expand after this pandemic.

Disadvantaged students and families that rely on the public education system have been met with grim conditions in addition to a wave of xenophobia and bigotry of various kinds.

To Moore, this pandemic also revealed the inherent downfalls of our educational system. Moore, speaking from the perspective of a social worker, said, “our educational system is outdated… students today are born into technology, the way they see the world is different from the way we see the world, our curriculum may not necessarily be relevant to them.”

Moore then goes on to point out the lack of emphasis on creative intelligence and the need to incorporate socio-emotional learning into our curriculum. “Kids are social beings; social interactions are one of the most important ways of learning.”

In addition, because of a lack of funding for schools, large numbers of low-income students are not receiving adequate funding or provide the best services.

As educational authorities seek ways to preserve the educational system for students and families, new issues must also be considered as NYC emerges from the pandemic.

With hope and caution, we move forward.

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Helen Chen, Jr. Editor

Hello! I’m Helen, a junior editor for the "Young Voices" section of BK Reader! Currently, I'm a high school student with a desire to explore all that the world has to offer. I’m also an educational...

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