Panelists discuss rights to education during COVID-19

Panel discussion on school year challenges

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UAB's Institute for Human Rights hosted a panel discussion on Facebook Thursday afternoon to discuss the challenges teachers, students, and families are facing as we gear up for another school year.

Panelists included Dr. Tondra Loder-Jackson, a professor of educational foundations in the UAB School of Education, Dr. Ashley Kuntz, the director of Scholar Development and clinical assistant professor of educational policy studies at Florida International University, and Dr. Tonya Perry, a professor and interim chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the UAB School of Education and executive director of GEAR UP Alabama.

They discussed everything from teachers' concerns about their health and safety to options for families and college students have when it comes to returning to school during a pandemic.

Dr. Perry discussed what she has experienced as the executive director of GEAR UP Alabama, which is an educational initiative in the Black Belt Region.

She talked about how some students' grades will suffer because they don't have devices or internet to learn virtually.

“COVID-19 has exposed some real gaps that we have across the nation, particularly with virtual learning and education as a whole. We have an availability problem and a financial challenge when it comes to education,” said Dr. Perry.

The panelists said this is an opportunity to make institutional changes, and not just to patch up cracks in the system.

You can watch the whole discussion on the UAB Institute for Human Rights’ Facebook and YouTube pages.

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