Grosse Pointe, Detroit Teachers and students speak up about socio-economic gaps in online learning

Educators in Detroit and Grosse Pointe public schools who alter teaching approaches throughout the pandemic, voice concerns about educational and socio-economic disparities in remote learning environments 

Discrepancies throughout the decades:

According to the 2020 Census, Detroit and Grosse Pointe are the most socioeconomically segregated cities in the country. In Grosse Pointe, only 7% of kids are impoverished, and the median household income is over $90,000, compared to Detroit, which has a median income of $26,000. Students in Grosse Pointe have a graduation rate of about 95%, compared to Detroit’s 77%. 

Shannon Holmes, a Grosse Pointe transition services consultant and Detroit resident and Shalika Robie, a Detroit resident and Grosse Pointe educator, said this divergence spans through the decades and is challenging virtual instruction in Detroit communities. “We know that socioeconomically in both school districts, Grosse Pointe has more access to things,” Holmes said. For more of Holmes’ interview, click here

Two-pronged issues

Robie also said the socioeconomic gap, in relation to the current pandemic, is even more polarized.

Grant recipients pay it forward despite challenges

Recipients of a $10,000 grant from the The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund are seeding, literally and figuratively, projects that will grow their nonprofit organizations. The Grosse Pointe Garden Center along with 11 other grantees last year used the funding to promote educational and communal, socially distanced outreach to residents of the community. Grosse Pointe Garden Center

For Grosse Pointe Garden Center President Candy Sweeny, Covid-19 has limited indoor activities and member participation. However, with the grant, Sweeny said the organization used the funding to provide free memberships to members in 2021. In addition to free memberships, the Grosse Pointe Garden Center used leftover grant funding to create a garden in honor of all healthcare professionals. 

“We decided to come up with something very simple and use 10 plots of land with a rainbow theme garden, and then also had a poster that said, ‘Our heartfelt thanks’” Sweeny said.