Yes, we should point the finger at ‘Learning Loss’ due to the Coronavirus

The 2020 We Can’t Open Schools group became the 2021 Kids Resilient ensemble, eventually graduating to the 2022 We Don’t Talk About Loss of Learning choir.

Now that we’re in the wake of one of the biggest political disasters in recent memory, the same people who made those decisions (or relentlessly defended them) would rather not talk about what has happened since.

And why are they? It’s already been a year or two – shouldn’t we just go ahead and not play the ‘blame game’? Besides, many of them are rewarded with new and powerful positions in education.

This must have been a tough week for the school-closure memory keepers.

Results released this week from the National Assessment of Educational Progress Tests, which have been used to assess students since the 1970s –once again— School closures due to COVID have caused an unprecedented loss of learning. They report a decline in math skills among 9-year-olds for the first time in test history and the largest decline in reading skills in 30 years, according to New York times. Low-income and minority students suffered the most, “in part because their schools were more likely to continue distance learning for longer periods of time.”

Days after this news broke, The White House held a webinar on back to school It includes two of the country’s most prominent school closure campaigners, union presidents Randy Weingarten (American Federation of Teachers – AFT) and Becky Pringle (National Education Association – NEA), while press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre said opening schools “was the work of Democrats despite Republicans”.

Indeed, the city hall’s back-to-school task force, which included Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and CDC chief Rochelle Walinsky, is a perfect picture of the coalition that has kept children out of school — exacerbating achievement gaps, not to mention the cascade in getting Food and mental health problems that followed. It is also a symbol of the political power and policy making of people who have committed stolen year (NPR education reporter Anya Kamentz also described her book) Despite her failings.

Millions of American schoolchildren have been out of school in person — many of whom barely signed up for Zoom, and when they did, had little instruction — for more than a year. A coalition of teachers’ unions and their ideological allies in school boards and local government in major American cities and suburbs put hurdle after hurdle to opening, despite evidence early in the pandemic that it could be done safely, as was the case in much of the United States. United States and abroad.

The results were, or should have been, expected, Kammintz points out in her book.

Much shorter school disruptions after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans created years of learning loss and a decade of lasting effects. However, conventional wisdom in liberal elite circles – who presided over the nation’s largest school districts – holds that it is uniquely dangerous to open schools, and that children will be resilient in distance learning. Providers of conventional wisdom ruled with an iron fist, violating those who argued against it as potential child killers or racists who did not adequately examine their privileges.

times The headline — “The pandemic 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 was not an epidemic. It was pretty much the answer. Until those responsible for keeping schools closed admit this fact, there will be no solution to the problem. Private schools, country schools, red state schools and schools around the world have opened their doors to serve populations at low risk of contracting COVID, but at high risk in terms of development costs if their education is essentially given up indefinitely.

Only in blue American cities has it been largely abandoned for a long time. Where do we go from here? There are a couple of campsites.

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

Cummins reported poignantly about families’ suffering during distance learning and the devastating effects we knew were coming, but said we shouldn’t “deal with this mess or point fingers”. There is no culprit in stolen year. Alyssa Rosenbergwriting about the horrors of pandemic policies that have taken place on children for Washington Post, warned against “backward accusations” and “rephrasing who was right or wrong in the summer of 2020”. At least this camp admits that closing schools was a wrong call.

Then there is the “we did what we did” camp. These are the people who won’t even admit that long-term school closures were a tragic mistake, let alone admit their guilt. Disgustingly, some of these people continue to portray themselves as the heroes of the same kids they failed to achieve.

This is Weingarten’s reaction For news of these degrees.

In the late summer of 2021, Weingarten remained eager to open schools, promising to “try to open schools”. Now, you want 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 aphorism. Rewarding bad behavior makes you get more of it; Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity; Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. There is something absurd about trusting people who have caused such a huge problem to fix it – without any account whatsoever for their part in it.

And parents know that. Contact them “Dishonesty“The camp, many of whom are political liberals who became active in open schools during the pandemic, are upset with the behavior and content of their school districts offerings. It turns out body bag protests, sick patients, strikes, and jeers were not persuaded by parents that they should gladly sacrifice their children’s education.

Parents like Siva Raj in San Francisco said times: “I felt that the school board had been completely deprived of the priorities of learning and teaching. It was focused on everything other than education.”

“And then distance learning, or distance learning, and the lack of accountability and the seeming lack of any real focus on prioritizing education, and that’s where I said, ‘Wow, I have to be involved here’,” said Tom Chavez of Illinois. . And as I started peeling the layers back, I 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 count the consequences of a stolen year for many years to come. Experts suggest that even ambitious and costly interventions such as high-dose tutoring — which most parents cannot afford — will make up only part of the education lost.

Not acknowledging that a decision was made, and that it was a failure, is shedding light on parents and advocates for reopening schools. “Just moving on” from unprecedented disaster, without any accountability, is tantamount to giving tacit approval to make the same mistakes again.

Students will need creative solutions to recover from this damage. They deserve better than strength to be united in the hands of their failure.

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