by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
What happened: The Department of Education on Monday reported a significant drop in math and reading scores for U.S. students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The math results were “the steepest declines ever recorded” by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation’s Report Card.
What they’re saying: In addition to the obvious harm students suffered—a direct result of pandemic school closures driven by teachers’ unions and Democratic politicians—the New York Times found another reason why the shocking test scores are bad for the country: They “could be seized as political fodder—just before the midterms—to re-litigate the debate over how long schools should have stayed closed, an issue that galvanized many parents and teachers.”
How dare they!
Why it matters: According to the mainstream media, Republican politicians are always nefariously “seizing” or “pouncing” on news that reflects poorly on Democrats. A normal person might think if anything deserves to be “political fodder” in the final stretch of a midterm election, it’s the fact that a generation of American children had their educations severely stunted as a result of the pandemic and policy choices that kept classrooms closed for the better part of two years.
Who’s to blame? An October 2020 study found that school districts with strong teachers’ unions were more likely to recommend that schools remain closed, even though scientific evidence found that reopening schools was safe and unlikely to result in “superspreader” events.
Last month, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre blamed Donald Trump and other GOP politicians for keeping schools closed. Reopening the schools, she said, “was the work of Democrats in spite of Republicans.”
Is that true? No, it’s not. Republicans who called for schools to reopen in 2020 were repeatedly denounced (without evidence) by Democratic-backed union activists for endangering the lives of teachers and students.