While the NJEA wants to claim that learning loss did not really occur, a new study by Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research sheds some much-needed light on the severity of learning loss due to pandemic-related school closures. While the authors passed no judgments on whether a state’s COVID policies were justified, their conclusions were unequivocal: school closures during 2020-21 had “profound consequences” for student achievement. In particular:
“In districts that went remote, achievement growth was lower for all subgroups, but especially for students attending high-poverty schools. In areas that remained in person … there was no widening of gaps between high and low-poverty schools in math (and less widening in reading).”
As seen in the chart below, New Jersey ranked among states with the most weeks of remote learning, with high-poverty schools having the most (25 weeks).
So the data shows that kids in schools with remote schooling lost more learning and that kids in high-poverty schools lost the most.
As Sunlight has highlighted, there is a great deal of research that teachers unions were the driving force behind school closures
. And remember that in towns like Montclair
, there is simply no doubt that the teachers unions resisted – and even boycotted – the proposed re-openings of schools. So a hefty portion of the blame for all this learning loss can be placed on the teachers unions who once again were not looking out for the interests of the kids. And also on Gov. Murphy who refused to cross his deep-pocketed political supporters, the NJEA and AFT, to push for re-opening schools
There is a lot of work to be done to try to get kids back on track, and yet our governor has been strangely passive
about determining the extent of learning loss and taking concrete steps to remedy it. The Harvard study warns of the serious consequences of both the learning loss and Murphy’s failure to address it:
“If the achievement losses become permanent, there will be major implications for future earnings, racial equality, and income inequality, especially in states where remote instruction was common.”
Like New Jersey.
New Jersey’s parents need to open their eyes to the reality of how much the education establishment – led by our most powerful special interest, the NJEA, and its favorite politician, Gov. Murphy – has let down our kids. And they need to push Murphy to remediate the learning loss he bears so much responsibility for.