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Opinion | Pandemic Learning Loss Is Not an Emergency

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State-by-state, it is difficult to draw the line between school closures and loss of learning. Because the states with the longest shutdowns are doing the best, and vice versa.previous research Indicated A clearer link between school closures and loss of learning at the district level, but at a press conference announcing the latest NAEP report, the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics said: Said“There is nothing in this data to indicate a measurable difference in performance between states and districts based solely on the length of time schools were closed.”

New York City, the largest school district in the United States, reopened schools in September 2020. Average reading scores decreased by about 1 point in grade 4 and improved by about 1 point in grade 8. In math, he fell 9 points in 4th grade (12 points lower statewide) and 4 points lower in 8th grade (6 points lower statewide). In Los Angeles, the second-largest district, schools will remain closed until his January 2021. There, 4th grade reading, 8th grade mathematics, and 8th grade reading averages actually improved, with 9 significant improvements (up to 257). 248). The only grade that dropped was in his fourth grade math (from 224 to 220).

In a vacuum, pandemic declines, if relatively small, look like bad news. But this is not what happened in a vacuum. I mentioned 1 million deaths, but this is not to worry about how high those numbers would have been without school closures. I believe the scale of that impact is an open question. the illness itself. And the impact was far greater than simply measured by mortality: By one estimate, more than 3.5 million Americans were hospitalized, and perhaps at least as many suffered from his long-term Covid. I was there. In the spring of 2020, the country’s unemployment rate exploded, jumping From about 4 percent to about 15 percent. Six million initial unemployment claims were filed each week in a short period of time in April. In a single quarter, US GDP fell 9% of his. Murder rate he increased by 30%. Fatal car accidents also surged. Overdose deaths increased by 30% in 2020 and 15% in 2021. When the pandemic first hit, depression rates tripled in the United States, according to some studies. About 600,000 teachers have left their jobs.

This is a world where most American students have been studying remotely for months, many closer to a year, some longer, and compared to their students on reading and math exams. Well, there was a difference of a few points. Pre-pandemic companions.

“The sudden onset of the pandemic, the most devastating event in recent American history, has raised hopes that something called ‘learning loss’ won’t seem strange,” he said. Keinga Yamatta Taylor says: recently wrote at the New Yorker. “The idea that life just goes on as simple as it ever has only emphasized that he had two different experiences with the pandemic.” do.

International comparisons provide another context for the drop in test scores. In England, schools closed in the spring of 2020, reopened in early summer in some locations, and nationwide in the fall (his Omicron was suspended for about a month in the winter of 2021). ). In retrospect, it would have been a plausible but relatively aggressive approach to reopening schools in the United States, where many schools remained remote in the 2020-2021 academic year. Also, the proficiency score dropped by 6 percent. This is about the same as the American experience. In other words, in the UK, they weren’t doing well because the reopening of schools was near optimal.

In the Netherlands, where schools were even less disrupted than in the UK, student performance dropped by 3%. This has improved somewhat, but is still below the standards set in the years before the pandemic. At the extreme end of the spectrum is Sweden, which closed schools at all, and according to some reports, no such decline. But the country has also suspended its testing program. That said, the data on which such claims may be based is rather shaky.

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