Preliminary information offers a sobering look at disruptive and incomplete learning, however

Towards the end of another busy epidemic school year, young people, families, and educators take a deeper look at experiences and outcomes, including new research interrupted and incomplete learning of the early effects of distance learning.

The latest study from Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research is based on test data from 2.1 million students nationwide. It shows that school closures have widened both economic and racial inequalities in education – which were already unacceptable rates before the epidemic. A particularly interesting data point shows that while most of the school districts in 2020-21 were remote, high-poverty schools suffered 50 percent higher achievement losses than low-poverty schools.

As I reflect on the last two years of the epidemic, like many, I am concerned that the epidemic has affected our youth, our teachers and our education system. Yet I warn against using a deficit frame that fails to take into account other types of learning and skills acquired by students during the epidemic, simply because they do not fit the standard of traditional measurement or the narrow structure of achievement. Furthermore, I am concerned that a false choice is being made by those who have the decision-making authority – to return to school completely privately or to commit to a completely distance education.

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