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COVID At School: Boys Fell Behind More Than Girls. Can They Catch Up?

In Chicago and across the country, there is growing evidence that this year has hit Black and Latino boys harder than other students. Amid rising gun violence, a national reckoning over race, bitter school reopening battles and a deadly virus that took the heaviest toll on Black and Latino communities, the year has tested not only these teens, but also the school systems that have historically failed many of them. 

It has severed precarious ties to school, derailed college plans and pried gaping academic disparities even wider. 

But in this moment of upheaval, educators and advocates also see a chance to rethink how schools serve boys of color. With billions in federal stimulus funds on the way, the crisis is fueling a patchwork of efforts to bring diversity to the teaching cadre, support college-bound teens and more, though a bolder, wholesale overhaul is yet to emerge. 

The stakes are high. Even before pandemic disruption set in, boys of color were most likely to drop out, skip college, and end up unemployed.

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