Hawaii kids are worse off than their peers around the country when it comes to educational access during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new analysis by Education Week Research Center based off of recent U.S. Census Bureau data.

The analysis by the education-focused news journal is taken from a snapshot of data collected from May 14 to May 19, when schools nationwide were forced to close due to the virus. The authors looked at such indicators as availability of internet and devices to students in each state as well as time spent learning and interacting with teachers and parents during that week.

They also compared these indicators across family educational level to see where disparities in these categories were most pronounced, resulting in this index.

education, EdWeek, analysis, Hawaii schools

Hawaii scored at the very bottom of EdWeek’s “coronavirus learning loss risk index” while Vermont came out on top. Hawaii also showed the biggest disparity among all states in weekly teacher interactions between more educated and less educated households.

“The state is considered to be at much higher risk than any other state in terms of equity based on EdWeek Research Center analysis,” the authors write.

The authors also note that students in all states were at “some risk” of not having access to learning tools during the pandemic while 23 states were at “higher risk” or “much higher risk” for potential learning loss.

There are also some geographic patterns: behind Vermont, states like Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island were least vulnerable to learning loss, according to the data, while states in the South and Midwest, including Kentucky, Louisiana and Missouri, were most susceptible, other than Hawaii.

“The Index is designed to provide a relative — not absolute — sense of how the states compare when it comes to factors that might put students at risk of learning loss during the pandemic,” the authors wrote.

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