Pandemic Protocols, School Closures Caused Largest Learning Loss in 30 Years

High School Students Wearing Uniform Raising Hands To Answer Question Set By Teacher In Classroom
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The U.S. Department of Education and establishment media outlets have admitted to severe learning loss among students due to draconian and unnecessary coronavirus pandemic protocols that saw school closures, masking, and “virtual learning.”

The admission comes after years of many in the media leaving pandemic protocols unquestioned as they supported the Biden administration and allies in teachers’ unions.

“The pandemic erased two decades of progress in math and reading,” the New York Times reported Thursday, citing data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress — an assessment often referred to as “the nation’s report card” conducted by the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

CNN, AP, and other leftist organizations also admitted to the effects of the policies about which they refused to ask questions. Breitbart News has been reporting on these outcomes throughout the duration of the pandemic.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (the nation’s largest teachers’ union), decided to take to Twitter to post about how “schools are already working on helping kids recover and thrive,” despite being a chief advocate for shuttering schools and forcing children into Zoom classses.

Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos responded to Weingarten, describing how she “strong-armed” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and school districts to “keep schools closed,” “passed resolutions affirming [critical race theory], and radical gender theory,” and is currently “orchestrating strikes nationwide, which will cause further learning loss.”

Data collected shows that nine-year-olds lost ground in math for the first time since the data started being collected in the 1970s, and reading scores dropped by its most significant margin since 1990.

Compared to the 2020 assessment, which was administered before pandemic protocols were put in place, the 2022 scores dropped seven points in math and five points in reading.

Saying the U.S. is in an “education crisis,” according to CNN, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona also said that the drop in scores can be attributed to not having “in-person learning.”

“That is very alarming. It’s disturbing. But it’s not surprising, keeping in mind a year and a half ago over half of our schools were not open for full-time learning,” he told the outlet. “In-person learning is where we need to focus. We need to double-down our efforts.”

“I’m very concerned about those scores and I know that we have the resources now and we need to maintain the same level of urgency we had two years ago to get our students back into making sure that our students get support,” he continued.

Declines in scores affected all regions of the country, as well as almost all racial groups and income levels — though, lower-income and minority groups suffered the largest losses as those schools were typically Democrat-run and were more likely to be locked down for longer periods of time.

While black students lost 13 points in math, Hispanic students lost eight points and white students lost five points. Regional declines in math were nine points in the Midwest, eight points in the Northeast, seven points in the South, and five points in the West.

For reading, black, white, and Hispanic students each dropped six points. Regional declines for reading were seven points in the Northeast, seven points in the Midwest, and six points in the South with no change in the West.

According to the data, Asian, Native American, and students of two or more races saw little change in either math or reading.

“These are some of the largest declines we have observed in a single assessment cycle in 50 years of the NAEP program,” acting NCES Associate Commissioner Daniel McGrath said. “Students in 2022 are performing at a level last seen two decades ago.”

Lower scores have significant implications for the improvement trajectory of students as they continue their schooling.

For example, the nine-year-olds tested — who are typically in third or fourth grade — are likely capable of completing simple arithmetic problems, but would have a harder time adding fractions with common denominators. Similarly, these students would show a decreased understanding of what they are reading a well as a lower ability to infer from what they have read.

But each point in decline means more time tacked onto recovering from the learning loss, according to Dr. Andrew Ho, who is a professor of education at Harvard University and formerly of the board that oversees the NAEP exam.

Ho told the New York Times that one point lost on the NAEP exam would likely translate to three weeks of made-up learning.

Therefore, students who lost 12 points would take nearly nine months of learning recovery to get back to where they should be — putting them far behind their other classmates who did not lose as many points.

Three different coronavirus relief spending bills gave the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund nearly $200 billion.

In an op-ed for USA Today, Cardona appeared optimistic about the dismal test scores, writing, “While we use this new data to help sharpen and focus our plans to accelerate student growth, we also know that many of our students are on track to make significant academic progress this school year.”

“Initial state assessment results in places like Indiana and Connecticut … show that many students made enough progress to close some of the pandemic-related achievement gaps,” he continued. “This progress is a testament to the enduring impacts our educators and school staffs can make on helping our students catch up, both academically and developmentally.”

Despite this, DeVos told the Washington Examiner that these test scores were “wholly avoidable,” putting much of the blame at the feet of teachers’ unions and the CDC that listened to them.

“The big school unions bosses forced the CDC to keep schools closed longer than was necessary, and our kids were held hostage as a result,” she said. “It’s time to set every child free from the government-run, union-controlled education system that continues to fail them. It’s time to pass school choice in Congress and in every legislature across America.”

Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.


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