NYT: Republicans Were Right About Pandemic School Policy

(RepublicanReport.org) – The New York Times recently published an article that admits Republicans were right all along about their approach to school policy during the pandemic. It points to data showing the damage students suffered due to lockdowns. The researchers found that the interruptions to regular classroom time left lasting effects on children’s test scores.

The Times refers to a report published by researchers from Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and Johns Hopkins University in May 2023. The experts determined that the damage students sustained was “substantial.” Even more concerning, these effects were likely to last without added intervention. The study noted that states reacted in varying ways to the health crisis, but many students’ declines revolved around their ability to access and adhere to online and hybrid learning systems. Children in homes lacking computers and broadband internet access suffered the most in many areas, although average declines in scores didn’t vary much within individual districts, which means the effects were more regional than anything.

Other factors that may have affected students include their schools’ resources, outside social support, effects of deaths related to the pandemic, disruptions to normal daily life, and people’s faith in the institutions themselves. Additional impacts of lockdowns included effects on social networks, mental health, the way children experienced school, and changes to parents’ careers and income levels.

The researchers noted that prior to the pandemic, disruptions to children’s learning schedules could take over 4 to 5 years to correct. Accelerated learning schedules and additional instruction were vital in this process. Districts often have a hard time adapting their lesson planning, however, and the losses tend to continue when allowed to go unaddressed.

However educators and parents look at the problem, the pandemic left lasting damage on many children — some of whom, according to a separate article from The Times, may never fully recover. Even short disruptions had serious consequences, which means schools might need to find a different approach if we ever find ourselves in another serious health crisis.

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