While blue states floundered to resume classroom learning for large swaths of students, Republican-led states protected working-class, minority children against the severe learning losses caused by Democrats’ Covid-19 overreach by encouraging classroom teaching, new data suggests.
According to a study conducted by Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research, students in low-income areas suffered years worth of academic depletion, especially in math, after spending larger amounts of time in remote learning.
“Within school districts that were remote for most of 2020-21, high-poverty schools experienced 50 percent more achievement loss than low-poverty schools,” the study noted.
All students suffered educationally during the pandemic due to forced remote learning. Ultimately, however, it was the low-income, minority kids who suffered the most. While red states eagerly ushered kids of all backgrounds back to school, blue states led by Democrats campaigning on solving racial inequality kept impoverished black and Hispanic children at home, thus widening learning gaps between vulnerable, low-income students and high-income students.
Most of these students attended schools in large, Democrat-controlled urban hubs in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C. which, even The New York Times admitted, were far more susceptible to anti-science lockdowns and pressure from teachers unions to keep kids remote than those schools in red areas. As a result, these high-poverty students often lacked the parental oversight, home stability, electricity, strong internet, or even a computer required to fully participate in online schooling.
Early in the pandemic, science showed that school closures were not only unnecessary to protect children who are far less likely than adults to contract severe Covid-19 or die from it, but also harmful. While kids in countries like Sweden safely attended class during the height of the virus, students in the U.S. were sentenced to learning online for large portions of 2020 and 2021.
On average, red states such as Florida and Texas were much quicker to resume classroom learning, some as early as the summer of 2020. Republicans cited massive learning losses across the board as their main motivator to reopen schools.
Their fears were correct. The Harvard study shows that even students who largely attended school in physical classrooms in the 2020-2021 school year lost nearly 20 percent of “a school year’s worth of unfinished learning” in math. If they hadn’t reopened, those numbers had the potential to become even more dismal and undo even more of the immense math and reading skills progress recorded for American students, especially minority students.
“The Covid closures have reversed much of that progress, at least for now,” The New York Times noted.