Yes, we need to point the finger at COVID’s ‘learning loss’

The 2020 We Can’t Open Schools crowd became the 2021 Kids Are Resilient troupe and eventually the 2022 We Don’t Talk About Learning Loss chorus.

Now that we stand behind one of the greatest political catastrophes in modern memory, the same people who made those decisions (or relentlessly worked to make them) would rather not talk about what has happened since.

And why should they? It had been a year or two – shouldn’t we just move on and not play the ‘blame game’? Also, many of them are rewarded with new, powerful positions in education.

This must have been a tough week for the school closure reminders.

Results released this week from the national assessment of educational progress tests, which have been used to assess students since the 1970s, showed – once again – that COVID-related school closures were causing an unprecedented learning loss. They show a decline in math skills among 9-year-olds for the first time in the test’s history and the largest decline in reading ability in 30 years The New York Times. Low-income and minority students suffered more, “in part because their schools were more likely to continue distance learning for longer periods of time.”

Days after this news broke, the The White House hosted a back-to-school webinar with two of the country’s leading school-closure activists, union leaders Randi Weingarten (American Federation of Teachers – AFT) and Becky Pringle (National Education Association – NEA), while press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argued that the opening of schools was “the work of the Democrats” despite being Republicans.”

Indeed, the occupation of this back-to-school town hall, which also included Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and CDC chief Rochelle Walensky, paints a perfect picture of the alliance that kept kids out of school — and exacerbated the attainment gaps, not to mention the cascading problems that followed in access to food and mental health. It is also a symbol of the political and political power of the perpetrators The stolen year (as NPR education reporter Anya Kamenetz titled her book) still have despite their failures.

Millions of American schoolchildren were out of classroom school for more than a year — many barely logged on to Zoom and, when they did, received little instruction. A convergence of teachers’ unions and their ideological allies in school boards and local governments in America’s metropolitan and suburban areas has presented obstacle after obstacle to opening up, although early in the pandemic it was demonstrated that it was certainly possible, as it was in much of the world US and Overseas.

The results were predictable, or should have been, as Kamenetz noted in her book.

A much shorter disruption to schools following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans had resulted in years of lost learning and a decade of lasting impact. And yet the conventional wisdom in elite liberal circles — who ran the country’s largest school districts — was that schools were uniquely dangerous to open and that distance learning provided children with resilience. The advocates of conventional wisdom ruled with an iron fist, condemning those who argued against it as would-be child killers or racists who had not adequately checked their privileges.

The times The headline – “The pandemic has wiped out two decades of progress in math and reading” – misses the point, as did many of those who pushed to keep schools closed.

It wasn’t the pandemic; it was mostly the reaction to that. And until those responsible for closing the schools acknowledge this fact, there will be no solution to the problem. Private schools, rural schools, red state schools and schools around the world opened their doors to serve a population at low risk of COVID but at high risk of development costs if their education were essentially abandoned indefinitely.

Only in blue American cities have they been abandoned so dramatically for so long. What do we do now? There are a few camps.

First, there is the “Let’s not blame” camp.

Kamenetz gave a moving account of the struggles faced by families during distance learning and the devastating effects we knew was coming, but said we should “not revisit or point the finger at this mess”. There is no culprit in it The stolen year. Alyssa RosenbergWriting about the horrors of pandemic policies imposed on children The Washington PostHe warned against “hindsight allegations” and “smug rehashing of who was right or wrong in the summer of 2020”. This camp at least recognizes that closing schools was the wrong way to go.

Then there’s the “we did what we did” camp. These are the people who won’t even admit that the prolonged school closures were a tragic mistake, let alone admit their own guilt. Disgustingly, some of these people continue to pose as advocates for the same children they failed at.

This is how Weingarten reacted to the messages of these scores.

As late as the summer of 2021, Weingarten remained reluctant to open schools and promised to “try to open schools.” Now she wants to “accelerate learning”.

But the problem with the “let’s not blame” approach is that it allows the “we did what we did” faction to remain in power.

Choose your saying. If you reward bad behavior, you get more of it; doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity; Admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. There’s something absurd about trusting the people who created a huge problem to solve it—without counting on their part in it.

And parents know it. Call them the “Betrayal of Trust” camp, many of them political liberals who became open school activists during the pandemic, dismayed by the behavior and content of their school districts’ offerings. It turns out that the body bag protests, sick leave, strikes and parental ridicule haven’t convinced her that their children’s education should be so blithely sacrificed.

Parents like Siva Raj told in San Francisco The times: “It felt like the school board had completely deprioritized learning and education. It was focused on anything but education.”

Tom Chavez of Illinois said, “And then the distance learning or distance learning and the lack of accountability and lack of seemingly real focus on prioritizing education, I was like, ‘Wow, I gotta get involved here.’ And as you started peeling away the layers, you started discovering things that were troubling as a parent.”

American public schools have lost millions of students since 2020, and millions of students and their parents will face the consequences of the stolen year for years to come. Experts theorize that even expensive, ambitious interventions like high-dose tutoring — which most parents can’t afford — would only make up for some of the lost education.

Not admitting that a decision was made and that it was a failure is to gas fire parents and advocates for reopening schools. To “just move on” from an unprecedented disaster, without accountability, is to tacitly agree to the same mistakes being made again.

Students need creative solutions to recover from this damage. They deserve better than power settled in the hands of those who failed them. Yes, we need to point the finger at COVID’s ‘learning loss’


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button