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Decades of educational growth took hit during COVID

The pandemic’s disruption of schooling caused real harm to student learning and will have far-reaching consequences for our children.

Article by Anne Wicks September 1, 2022 //   2 minute read

The latest Nation’s Report Card measured the learning of America’s 9-year-olds, revealing the largest score decline in reading since 1990 -- and the first-ever score decline in mathematics. 

Why does this matter: The pandemic’s disruption of schooling caused real harm to student learning and will have far-reaching consequences for our children. 

What should we do:  Continue to tell the truth about student progress with comparable high quality assessments. Outcome data help us understand where our kids are behind, making progress, and spotlight where improvement is needed. 

There are no quick fixes, but school districts can use outcome data to allocate people, money, and time where support is most needed. Federal COVID relief funding can be put to work aligned to those priorities. This is a time to invest in high-quality instructional materials and educator support to ensure that teachers and students have what they need to be successful in our classrooms.  

Reexamining the school day to create more instructional time and providing tutoring may help our students get back on track. 

Culture wars are not the answer. The focus for every adult should be making sure our kids are prepared for their next steps. Anything else only serves to distract adults from how to help kids succeed academically.

The bottom line: The data is a wake-up call for all Americans. Pandemic related learning loss is not a blip that will smooth out over time.  We should be creative to ensure that students are prepared for their next steps. If not, a generation of children is at risk for going off track.