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Some voice concern over inequality in learning pods

Posted at 10:43 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 09:18:54-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Remote learning is in the foreseeable future of many student in southern Arizona, because of that learning pods have grown in popularity.

Learning pod groups have popped up in southern Arizona in the form of Facebook pages. Essentially, they are small groups of students who come together five days a week to learn together.

“What a great way to come together with people who are in similar situations, put your brains together, put your resources together to figure out how to make the best out of these challenging times," said Stephanie Noriega, a mother of two who's considered forming a learning pod for her children.

Noriega told KGUN9 that although she loves the idea of learning pods, she's concerned about families who might be left out because of their lack of resources.

“That requires resources, that requires finances to be able to do that," said Noriega.

She added that while many of the parents she's spoke to in the Tucson area aren't hiring teachers or tutors to run their learning pods, she is aware that is typically how these groups work. Noriega said families who don't have the time or the money to take part in these kind of learning pods would hurt in the long run.

“For families who are just surviving through it, it causes an impact to the students who just have to show up to the zoom and may not get the help that they need," she said.

Funding, just as inequality, is another concern.

Pima County Superintendent Dustin Williams told KGUN9 that if parents choose to unenroll their children from their current school and instead go the learning pod route, they could hurt schools.

“For every student that leaves an organization whether it’s a district or charter or even private school those are dollars that are lost and on average it’s somewhere around $6,500 per student," said Superintendent Williams.

Both Noriega and Superintendent, urged parents turning to learning pods to be as inclusive as possible and to go to their school district for any questions.