There has always been a gap between students whose parents provide summer enrichment and those that do not. (See Malcolm Gladwell’s famous discussion of students in Baltimore). In quick summary, researchers from Johns Hopkins studied factors that led to student achievement. IQs, wealth, educational levels of parents and so forth were measured. The single biggest factor: how much school enrichment students did in the summer. Certainly wealth and the educational levels of parents correlated with the ability and willingness of parents to ensure their children did school work in the summer but neither was the cause of their success. Parents with low income and low education levels who had their children enter summer programs (such as free programs for those from impoverished areas) saw similar gains for their children.
The pandemic will create an even wider gap in student achievement. Last year – from an abundance of anecdotal evidence that will soon be statistically verified – was a disaster for student learning. This will be a huge problem for students who should have learned the fundamentals in subject areas where they advance. For years, we have noticed that those who never mastered the fundamentals in math during 6th-9th grade invariably struggle on SAT math. We have noticed the same with reading and writing in relation to AP English.
Those in the tougher parts of New Haven and New London can equalize the success of those in Guilford, Madison, and East Lyme. More to the point, if you are in the Shoreline area, some students will be diving into the books this summer and some will not.