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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Closing schools was a 'wrecking ball'

"The pandemic was a wrecking ball for U.S. public education," concludes the Center for Reinventing Public Education in The State of the American Student. "The kids are not all right," academically or emotionally.

Where schools stayed closed the longest, the effects were worse, the study finds. "Students who were poorly served before the pandemic were profoundly left behind during it, including many of those with disabilities who were cut off from essential services critical not only to learning but to daily life, as well."


As the old joke goes: Other than that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Decisions were driven by politics rather than evidence, write Robin Lake and Travis Pillow, co-authors of the study. The most harmed were "the students with the greatest needs."

National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reported less learning for nine-year-olds in math and reading; scores fell sharply between 2020 and 2022. . They predict NAEP data for older students, due in October, will be "very bad news." In Ohio and North Carolina, 10th-grade math scores "took a precipitous drop this last year."


Despite their fears of long-term harm to students affected by school closures, Lake and Pillow offer a hopeful scenario -- with "American ingenuity" and community collaboration.

Districts could use federal pandemic recovery funding to pay for community-run tutoring to help students address gaps in their learning and for programs that aid high school students in gaining a foothold in college or career training — areas where many recent graduates are struggling.
States or the federal government could create funds to ensure every member of the COVID generation graduates prepared to succeed in college or start a rewarding career.
School districts with innovative and proven approaches for the most pressing challenges, such as learning loss recovery, teacher staffing and student mental health, should be compensated to offer to train and support more districts to replicate those practices. The federal government and private foundations should organize a focused and coordinated national research program to quickly identify effective interventions, tools, and school and staffing models.

State should shift school “report cards” to focus on recovery, they write. "Every family should have access to clear, accessible data on where their child stands. If their schools cannot deliver a full recovery for their child, they should have the ability to opt out and pay for other learning options."

Test scores from nearly two million students nationwide show "more young children are struggling with early reading skills, while more older elementary and middle school students are missing foundational math skills like subtraction and multiplication," reports Kalyn Belsha on Chalkbeat. "As some other tests have found, the i-Ready showed more trouble spots in math than reading."

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6 Comments


Guest
Sep 20, 2022

It's all bullshit. Schools were in remote where parents wanted remote. Remote was damaging, but it was the parents' choice. And there's tons of evidence on this, unlike these morons blather.


https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2022/04/04/the-real-reason-for-school-closures/

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Guest
Sep 20, 2022
Replying to

no way. I teach in LA County. It is one of the biggest in the nation. I can tell you that there were multiple districts that wanted to go back in person, but were shut down by the county from doing so.


Just admit the shut downs were political and did more harm then good.

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Guest
Sep 19, 2022

Tutoring was available and funded before Covid; the extra dollars for tutoring go nowhere because there aren't any extra hours in the school year to spend on tutoring this group. They already had summer school, double period core classes, minimal expectations, and pullouts/pushins with specialists as well as 1:1 aides.


The money here is going to expanding on campus physical therapy, including sports leagues and athletic facilities. Non- special needs students are encouraged to volunteer.

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Guest
Sep 19, 2022

Very good podcast at Free Thoughts with Neil McCluskey of CATO on whether public schools can work in the modern diverse communities.


https://www.libertarianism.org/podcasts/free-thoughts/can-public-schools-work-neal-mccluskey


JK Brown

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Steve Sherman
Steve Sherman
Sep 19, 2022

Maybe if the schools focused on education instead of indoctrination it might help?

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rob
Sep 19, 2022

My prediction: few districts will follow the recommendations, instead spending the money on salaries, fancier classrooms and equipment. The pandemic was indeed a "wrecking ball" to US public education. The ball tore into a ineffective, expensive, and clueless system, laying waste to the shell that was left.


Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I don't think the edifice that is left can last for long.

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