by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
New research reveals the enormous harm that pandemic school shutdowns had on students, and that minorities and the poor suffered the most, especially in places run by Democrats.
To understand the impact of school shutdowns on learning, Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research compiled testing data on 2.1 million students in 49 states to see how school closures and the use of remote “learning” affected academic achievement.
The findings are deeply troubling. Closing schools “had profound consequences for student achievement.” Worse, it widened economic and racial education gaps. The researchers found that “high-poverty schools were more likely to go remote and the consequences for student achievement were more negative when they did so.”
One of the study’s authors, Thomas Kane, told the New York Times that “this will probably be the largest increase in educational inequity in a generation.”
The study also revealed a wide gulf between states based on how long they shuttered their schools – ranging from a handful of weeks to 20 weeks or more. …
… The states that shut students out the least amount of time are almost uniformly Republican states – Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Those that kept their doors shut the longest were almost entirely Democratic – California, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. …
… These school shutdowns never had any scientific justification. They were the result of union pressure on Democrats beholden to unions for campaign cash. …
… Worse still, the damage caused by these needless shutdowns could be permanent, and if that’s the case, the Harvard researchers point out, “there will be major implications for future earnings, racial equity, and income inequality, especially in states where remote instruction was common.”
When not harming educational achievement among the poor and minorities, Democrats were also making them poorer.