William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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OUR STUDENTS ARE HURTING – OVERNIGHT:  Yes, we're thinking about the shootings in Texas and the fear that must be running through students and teachers all over the country.  It could happen to them.  It could happen while political society spends its time assigning blame and does precious little to prevent the next tragedy.  Kamala Harris was out today demanding a new assault-weapons ban.  I'm so excited.  Hasn't she heard that the last one didn't work?  Does it even matter to her?

But our students are hurting in other ways.  The latest research shows what many had feared – that the lockdowns and lockouts during the height of the pandemic had a devastating effort on learning, and on the psychological health of the young.  Please read.  From College Fix:

Remote and hybrid learning during the COVID pandemic led to large declines in academic achievements, especially in high poverty districts, according to a study from Harvard University economist Thomas Kane.

“High poverty schools were more likely to go remote and the consequences for student achievement were more negative when they did so,” the research team with Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research reported.

Some school districts have more work to do to recover these academic losses than others. However, the vast majority of academic losses came from high poverty districts, according to the study.

To avoid this damage from being permanent, the study suggested that schools spend more on academic recovery.

“The correlation between the share of a year of unfinished learning and the share of an annual budget received in federal aid is positive (.35), largely because both are positively related to poverty,” the study stated. “If the achievement losses become permanent, there will be major implications for future earnings, racial equity, and income inequality, especially in states where remote instruction was common.”

The high poverty districts that switched to remote learning for most of 2020-21 will need to spend almost all federal aid on academic recovery to make up for student losses, according to the study.

Currently, the American Rescue Plan requires school districts to spend at least 20 percent of funds toward academic recovery, though the Harvard researchers believe it should be higher.

“District spending should be matched to the magnitude of their students’ losses,” Kane (pictured) told The College Fix via email on May 16. “Districts should reassess their recovery plans to ensure they have a package of interventions planned over the next two years to help their students recover.”

When asked if funding should be tied to a pledge to not go remote in the future, the economist and education professor told The Fix that public health researchers should “assess the evidence on the efficacy of school closures last year,” which should inform future decisions.

COMMENT:  Not the first time we've heard this, and the poor always take the greatest hit.  Hmm, I wonder where all that federal aid went?  Wasn't it in the trillions?  Who benefited?

We're also learning that the mental health of students was damaged.  Their social health was damaged.  We don't know what will happen to them when they hit college.  Will colleges be forced to lower standards?  They always seem willing to do so if some goal set by the political left needs to be met.

More study is needed, but the picture is grim.  Add to it the possibility of an economic downturn, and the morale and spirit of the nation can begin to look like 1979.  Then we had a Reagan to restore the national fabric.  Do we have one now?  Send me names.

The article contains these words:  "We may well have damaged our children irreparably.”

What a legacy.  And foreign enemies are watching.

May 28, 2022