Students are Far, Far Behind in School

During the 20-21 school year, schools closed down for periods of time to stop the spread of COVID. researchers are now learning that the closures came at a stiff price—a large decline in children’s achievement overall and a historic widening in achievement gaps by race and economic status.

The achievement loss is far greater than most educators and parents seem to realize. The only question now is whether state and local governments will recognize the magnitude of the educational damage and make students whole. Adults are free to disagree about whether school closures were justified or a mistake. But either way, children should not be stuck with the bill for a public-health measure taken on everyone’s behalf.

During the spring semester of 2020, though, nearly all schools went remote. Distractions, technical glitches, and the many other pitfalls of online education made it far less effective than in-person school One-fifth of American students, by our calculations, were enrolled in districts that remained remote for the majority of the 2020–21 school year. For these students, the effects were severe. Growth in student achievement slowed to the point that, even in low-poverty schools, students in fall 2021 had fallen well behind what pre-pandemic patterns would have predicted; in effect, students at low-poverty schools that stayed remote had lost the equivalent of 13 weeks of in-person instruction. At high-poverty schools that stayed remote, students lost the equivalent of 22 weeks. Racial gaps widened too: In the districts that stayed remote for most of last year, the outcome was as if Black and Hispanic students had lost four to five more weeks of instruction than white students had. (more)

Source: The Atlantic.