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Emergency remote teaching across urban and rural contexts: perspectives on educational equity

Earl Aguliera (Department of Curriculum and Instruction, California State University Fresno, Fresno, California, USA)
Bianca Nightengale-Lee (Department of Curriculum, Culture and Educational Inquiry, Florida Atlantic University College of Education, Boca Raton, Florida, USA)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 29 June 2020

Issue publication date: 27 July 2020




While educational shifts in response to COVID-19 at the state, district and school-level may have been grounded in the best of intentions, these decisions may not fully respond to the everyday realities of teachers, parents, caregivers and students living within historically marginalized communities. In addition to evidence-based and pragmatic approaches to emergency remote teaching (ERT), there is also a need to understand the experiences of students and families living in urban and rural contexts, who in light of existing educational inequities, are being further exposed to inequitable access due to school closures and the abrupt shift to ERT. This paper aims to use a reflexive dialogic approach to explore these issues.


Drawing from a larger phenomenological study highlighting the lived experiences of families being impacted by emergency shifts in educational policy and practice, this paper presents a dialogue between two teacher-educators of color working directly with teachers and administrators in the K-12 system across urban and rural contexts. This dialogue acknowledges and interrogates inequitable educational practices exacerbated by the pandemic for marginalized communities, and the shared responsibility of supporting the most vulnerable students as they transition to ERT.


Reflecting across their local contexts, the authors highlight the importance of educational decision-making that centers the perspectives of families in local communities; develop both pedagogical and structural approaches to address educational inequities; and purposefully approach ERT to disrupt such inequities and move toward a vision of educational justice.

Social implications

Broader implications of this discussion speak to the ever-widening divide between marginalized and dominant communities, which undergirds the and educational inequities that continue to threaten the academic achievement of all students.


As educational decision-makers imagine new pathways in the days ahead, this dialogue highlights the importance of keeping complex issues of educational inequity at the center of the conversation.



This article is part of the special issue, “A Response to Emergency Transitions to Remote Online Education in K-12 and Higher Education” which contains shorter, rapid-turnaround invited works, not subject to double blind peer review. The issue was called, managed and produced on short timeline in Summer 2020 toward pragmatic instructional application in the Fall 2020 semester.


Aguliera, E. and Nightengale-Lee, B. (2020), "Emergency remote teaching across urban and rural contexts: perspectives on educational equity", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 121 No. 5/6, pp. 471-478.



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