Opinion: Before helping students, liberals must admit that school closures were a problem

This should pause the progressive thinkers among those of us who favored closing schools and ask ourselves if this is right and what we can learn from this debacle.

Of course, test scores aren’t everything. They are not the only indicators of student performance, nor are they particularly good indicators. It also does not reflect a student’s intellectual or academic potential. But overall, it can be a useful measure of what students are learning and how they are doing.

And in the US they are not doing well.

Closing schools in Spring 2020 makes sense. Covid-19 is a new disease and we initially knew very little about who was particularly vulnerable and how it would affect children.

But by the fall of 2020, when we know more, the US will still global outlier In particular, we kept schools closed for our youngest students, who were at such a low risk of serious illness from Covid-19 that they were unable to study remotely. Many European countries have put children back into the classroom, and even short-term school closures have been highly disruptive and have grave consequences. academic and social-emotional setbacksIn the United States, the recession could get even worse with an even longer period of shutdown.
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Complicating matters is the fact that the United States is unique among wealthy industrial nations in its lack of a safety net. The Trump and Biden administrations provided much-needed economic relief to Americans, but overwhelmingly, when the country fell apart, Mom was the backup plan. Mainly in charge of remote schooling and childcare in addition to working for pay. Students who did not have the parental privilege to make homeschooling a second full-time job, or who could not personally pay to have someone else take over, were largely Adults with longer attention spans and perfectly formed brains struggled to stay focused during the endless Zoom calls. Imagine trying to learn algebra on Zoom. You can easily scroll through TikTok videos instead.
Not surprisingly, the students whose school has been remote the longest — Disproportionately black and Hispanic studentspartly because of those students Probability is high enroll in urban school district Employers who continued distance learning far longer than students living in rural and suburban areas experienced the greatest learning losses. This is one of the many ways the response to the pandemic is further tearing apart already widening inequalities.

Students from wealthy families or living in affluent neighborhoods are disproportionately white and are only more likely to spend more time in the classroom in the past two years than low-income students or students of color. But I also had more access to my private time. Learning pods, private schools, tutors — even if they were overworked, not to mention parents who are likely to be college-educated and working from home as the pandemic rages on. The constellation of profitable privilege exploded into supernova status during the 2020 and 2021 school years.

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It didn’t have to be this way. We can’t turn back time, and partisan criticism doesn’t help much, but progressives can face the harm their policies have done and ask themselves what they can learn. How can some of these negative effects be ameliorated?

Of course, school closures didn’t just happen because liberals were overly cautious. Over 1 million Americans have died from Covid-19, serious illness and death It weighed heavily on the black community and the poor. School closures weren’t just to keep kids from getting sick.They were trying to prevent children from carrying Covid-19 back to their parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors. evidence School closures are effective in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

But most benefits come with a cost. To create effective public policy, costs must be considered.

Lost student learning wasn’t the only cost of school closures.they were included group escape It reduces the number of women in the workforce, puts many of them back economically, and sends many to a poor future. They included black students. McKinsey analysis Starting last year, we will lose $2,186 in labor each year for 40 years. That compares to $1,348 a year for white students.

And significant learning loss doesn’t just mean 9-year-olds who struggle with math and reading. Significant learning losses mean more students feel dissatisfied with school and let academic setbacks weigh on themselves, resulting in lower high school graduation rates and fewer students entering college. increase.

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And here’s this: Americans who haven’t completed high school perform worse on a variety of indicators than those who have completed high school. Fewer high school graduates mean more citizens means to participate. poor physical condition We continue to raise children who are more prone to chronic diseases, more likely to die young, and face similar challenges. So this latest data isn’t just a bad omen for her 9-year-old today. It is a dark cloud looming over future generations.
Unfortunately, too many progressives who otherwise advocate the value of education treat the loss of learning as insignificant and the lack of schooling in the pandemic era simply as “different learning experiencesWhatever your views on the wisdom of closing schools due to COVID-19, there is certainly sincere disagreement about when, why and for how long a closure was appropriate. Shutting down is no big deal.

There are two current problems. What can we learn from the past and how can we move towards a better future for the students who have been sorely disappointed.

The first step for progressives is to admit that the problem really exists. Some believe it was born out of necessity. And the next step is to grab the story from the Republicans who figured it out. overwhelmingly to their advantageclaim that liberals are eager to alternately indoctrinate your children or close schools.
Democrats must respond with a clear and unique message. Education is a right and one of the most formative and valuable tools we give our children. America’s Children Are Really Suffering Academically (Not to mention) socially and emotionally); and the focus should be on putting the ship back together, not it. forbidden books When student newspaper closure.

Liberals can win with education. But we have to join the fight. To do that, we must first acknowledge that improving our nation’s badly damaged educational outcomes is a battle worth fighting.

Source: www.cnn.com

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