Learning loss from school closures was widespread and severe, and the teachers unions pushed for those closures. That’s the upshot from two recent commentaries on the results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as “the nation’s report card.”
The 74 appropriately titled its piece “Two Decades of Growth Wiped Out by Two Years of Pandemic.” The NAEP scores showed that for nine-year-olds long-term math scores dropped for the first time ever and reading scores saw the largest drop in 30 years, and scores dropped the most for the lowest scoring kids, mostly minority kids who fell even farther behind their higher-achieving peers. “Particularly bad,” “bleak” and “staggering” were all adjectives used to describe the results. So the facts show that school closures during the pandemic hurt all students but particularly minority students.
Next, the Wall Street Journal editorial board’s lead editorial was titled “Randi Weingarten Flunks the Pandemic,” and calling the NAEP results “a calamity.” The editorial notes that, led by the American Federation of Teachers’ president Randi Weingarten, “America’s teachers unions demanded that schools be kept shut even as they remained open in Europe.” Weingarten is of course now trying to escape responsibility for her actions, but American should not forget why schools were closed for so long.
Finally, another The 74 article showed that where teachers unions are powerful, schools remained closed for much longer. In “One Fate, Two Fates. Red States, Blue States: New Data Reveal a 432-Hour In-Person Learning Gap Produced by the Politics of Pandemic Schooling,” the data showed that, on average, schools in “red” states had almost twice the amount of days and hours of learning as “blue” state schools.
Here is a link to the graph.
There’s a strong relationship between “blue” states controlled by Democrats and powerful teachers unions. New Jersey happens to be one of the “bluest” states, and the taxpayer-funded NJEA routinely uses its clout to dominate New Jersey politics. Who can forget the $15 million the NJEA spent electing Democratic Gov. Murphy or that Murphy acquiesced to prolonged school closures in districts like Newark and Montclair? While the NJEA tried to keep its role out of the limelight, there is no question that in districts like Montclair – with its NJEA President/Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller – the NJEA and Montclair Education Association worked to keep schools closed.
So there you have it. Nationwide, school closures damaged kids – minority kids the most – and the teachers unions pushed to keep schools closed: ergo, teachers unions hurt kids – minority kids the most. That was true in New Jersey, too. Let’s not forget that.