Recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a national standardized test administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), showed that scores for 9-year-old students dropped during the pandemic. Preliminary results for the NAEP Long Term Trends (LTT) reading and mathematics assessment show that in 2022, compared to 2020, the average score will drop by 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics.
The test has been covered by the Biden administration, political circles and the corporate media, with cynical accusations of distance learning being responsible for the “learning loss” of 2020-2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the fall in academic achievement should be blamed squarely on the Trump administration’s “pandemic mismanagement.” This did not mean that Trump put corporate profits ahead of human life and embraced the pseudoscientific theory of “herd immunity”, the deliberate infection of large numbers of people. After all, the Biden administration adopted essentially the same policy, declaring the public that he must “learn to live” with COVID-19.
No, Cardona was simply criticizing the temporary shift to distance learning. This is not by Trump viciously opposing state and local governments, but by demands and opposition from teachers, students, and parents, who flock to dangerous classrooms.
“That’s why, from the first day of his administration, President Biden pushed for schools to reopen and get students back in the classroom,” Cardona declared.
Major school districts have also blamed preliminary results on distance learning. “As expected, preliminary state evaluation results show that there is no substitute for in-person instruction,” said Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
To the extent that standardized tests, which many educators and experts reject, accurately measure academic performance, there are many serious factors that contribute to lower scores than distance learning, none of which the Biden administration and the media are concerned about. will not be discussed.
First, the disease that has spread among children in the last two years. A nationwide study published in Nature in May estimated that nearly 51 million children are infected, a staggering 70% of U.S. children. Nearly 160,000 people have been hospitalized and at least 1,790 have died, according to the CDC. Most of the childhood illnesses and deaths occurred under Biden’s watch during the Delta and Omicron waves, when schools were forced to open prematurely amid a surge in infections.
To this we have to add the impact of long COVID. This is a widespread condition known to increase the risk of and debilitating acute pulmonary embolism, myocarditis, venous thromboembolism, acute renal failure, and type 1 diabetes in children. Symptoms such as loss of smell or taste, circulatory problems, fatigue and pain.
Second, there is the trauma and grief from losing life-altering parents, caregivers, and teachers to the “shake it up” response of both the Trump and Biden administrations. By February 2022, it is estimated that more than 200,000 of her children in the United States will have lost a parent or primary caregiver, and that number is on the rise. An estimated 8,000 educators in the United States have died from her COVID-19. Unlike missing school, children do not “recover” from a dead mother or father.
Finally, the official response to the pandemic, guided by the principle of private interest rather than public health, has wreaked havoc on the working class economically and socially. Governments around the world, led by the United States, have taken advantage of the pandemic to transfer unprecedented sums of money to major corporations through the CARES Act remedy. The US billionaire’s wealth increased by $2.1 trillion, or 70%, between 2020 and 2021, but working-class living conditions became increasingly miserable. Millions are out of work and wages are well below his 40 years of high inflation.
During Biden’s tenure, Democrats have overseen pandemic-related unemployment benefit expirations, a federal moratorium on evictions, and a child tax credit estimated to reduce child poverty by as much as 40%. Most recently, they allowed a universal free lunch program to expire, affecting an estimated 10 million children.
Setting these factors aside and accepting the premise that school closures themselves were the main cause of academic decline, distance learning was ill-funded and resource-poorly implemented from the outset. Many educators have even stated that the process was “sabotaged” by school districts. The federal and state governments should provide free, high-quality internet to all students, adequate training in online technologies for educators and students, and the resources parents need to stay home with their children. We do not provide financial support or guarantee resources.
Moreover, these chaotic school turmoil, where students were yo-yoed between in-person and distance learning, could be completely disrupted if the necessary measures were taken to curb transmission and eliminate COVID. could have been avoided. This would have included the temporary closure of schools and non-essential industries, provision of basic income and essentials, and other public health measures, as has been done in China.
In any case, the correlation between test reduction and distance learning is ambiguous at best. NAEP results showed that declines occurred in all regions of the country, including those that returned to face-to-face school in 2020. Declines occurred across urban, suburban and rural settings .
Stephanie Tate, author, disability advocate, compared State test results have been officially released, ranging from the two states with the longest duration of remoteness (California and Oregon) to the two states with the lowest duration of remoteness (Texas and Florida).
In an opinion piece published Thursday New York Times, David Wallace-Wells, who downplays the risks COVID-19 poses to children, arguing that schools should be “last to close and first to reopen,” says no correlation between distance learning and lower scores admitted to be He also cited state and local level data compiled by his infamous COVID-minimizer economist, Emily Oster.
During the pandemic, the situation inside the classroom is in jeopardy. In the last year, in a historic teacher shortage and rampant sickness absence, it has become common for students to be crammed into cafeterias and lecture halls, and for armed police and the National Guard to act as “deputies.” In none of these scenarios did learning take place, but perhaps with the exception of the broader social lessons many students drew, their lives and education included little value to those in power. It was
Political manipulation of NAEP results has multiple purposes. On the one hand, it is being used as a preemptive strike against future school closures amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which Biden has declared “over.” As a recent city hall co-hosted by the White House and teachers’ union revealed, the political system keeps schools in person so that parents are forced into equally dangerous factories and workplaces. We are united on the basis of this demand.
Beyond this, testing is used to justify broader attacks on public education, teachers and students. For decades, standardized tests have been used by the ruling class to cut funding, lay off educators, and convert public schools to private schools, all in the name of “educational reform.” I came.
Just as the political system is not as concerned with the actual lives and health of America’s children, as Cardona argued, they are dozens to care less about “progress and academic well-being.” This is evident in decades of budget cuts, school closures, and the state of disintegration in America’s schools, which, as a Columbus teacher documented, left millions of students outdated. Or learning in buildings with broken HVAC systems, mold, or even cockroach and rat infestations. Recently hit Ohio.
In addition to these dire circumstances, academic performance as measured by the NAEP test had already declined prior to the pandemic, especially among the lowest performing students living in low-income families. Both tests and their LTT assessments found stagnant or declining scores in reading and mathematics since 2012. Reading comprehension is declining, and the worst-performing students are getting worse. ”
There is no doubt that the academic life of students has been affected by the pandemic. But this is not the result of distance learning, but of a massive assault by the ruling class on the lives and livelihoods of the working class. We need to actually end the pandemic without A globally coordinated elimination program, the only scientific method available. More than this, we need a conscious working-class struggle against capitalism, the socio-economic system that destroyed public education and caused millions to die needlessly.
Such a fight will depend on the independent mobilization of the working class, including educators and parents, outside and against dangerous trade unions and capitalist parties. A growing international network of democratic general commissions is leading this fight and must be expanded and built in every school.