Latest News and Comment from Education

Thursday, June 22, 2023




Are you ready for some devastating news? The pandemic has claimed more victims than we thought: standardized testing scores. Yes, you read that right. Those pesky tests that have caused countless students to break out in hives and teachers to lose sleep have fallen victim to the pandemic.

You might be wondering how this is possible. Well, it's simple. With schools closing down and transitioning to online learning, students were left without the traditional classroom environment that they were used to. No more in-person lectures, no more group projects, no more pop quizzes (well, maybe that's a good thing). Instead, students were forced to adapt to a new way of learning that didn't exactly cater to their strengths.

As a result, standardized testing scores have plummeted. It's like the pandemic took a wrecking ball to the education system and left nothing but chaos in its wake. And to make matters worse, over 1300 teachers and staff have lost their lives due to the virus, along with 1,015 students. It's a tragedy that we can't even begin to comprehend.

But let's not dwell on the negative. Instead, let's focus on the silver lining. With standardized testing scores taking a hit, maybe we can finally start to question the validity of these tests. Are they really an accurate measure of a student's intelligence? Or are they just a way for schools to rank themselves against each other?

It's time for us to rethink the way we approach education. We need to focus on individualized learning and cater to each student's unique strengths and weaknesses. We need to prioritize hands-on learning and real-world experiences over memorization and regurgitation.

So, while the pandemic may have caused some damage to our education system, it's also given us an opportunity to make some much-needed changes. Let's take this as a wake-up call and start working towards a better future for our students. After all, they're the ones who will be leading us into the future.


NAEP Scores Show Effects of Pandemic: Duh. via @dianeravitch

According to Education Week¹, as of December 19, 2022, at least **1,308** active and retired K-12 educators and personnel had died of COVID-19 in the US. Of those, **451** were active teachers. The New York Times² reports that the American Federation of Teachers, one of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions, knows of at least **530** educators who have died from COVID-19 as of January 29, 2021. CNN³ and The Guardian⁵ also mention that hundreds of educators have died of COVID-19, but there is no definitive number that records exactly how many.

Bing, 6/22/2023

(1) Educators We Lost to COVID, 2020-2022 - Education Week.

(2) The Impact of Teacher Deaths - The New York Times.

(3) Teachers have lost colleagues to Covid-19 and worry about being ... - CNN.

(4) ‘Exhausted and underpaid’: teachers across the US are leaving their ....

(5) Investigative report into US state teacher retirement system data ....

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)¹, as of December 18, 2021, at least **1,015** children ages 0–17 have died from COVID-19 in the United States. The New York Times² reports that more than **397,000** cases have been identified on college campuses since the pandemic began. The World Socialist Web Site³ also mentions that at least **2,101** educators and school staff have died from COVID-19. However, these numbers may not be complete or accurate, as different sources may have different methods of collecting and reporting data.

Bing, 6/22/2023

(1) Provisional COVID-19 Deaths: Focus on Ages 0-18 Years - Data.

(2) Tracking the Coronavirus at U.S. Colleges and Universities.

(3) Over 1,000 children have died from COVID-19 in the United States.

(4) Coronavirus: COVID Deaths in U.S. by Age, Race.

The vaccination rates among students and teachers may vary by state, school district, and age group. According to the CDC¹, as of April 6, 2021, nearly **80 percent** of Pre-K-12 teachers, school staff, and childcare workers received at least their first shot of COVID-19 vaccine. According to The New York Times³, as of October 4, 2021, about **95 percent** of all full-time school employees in New York City have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, including **96 percent** of teachers and **99 percent** of principals. However, these numbers may not reflect the current situation or the national average, as vaccination rates may change over time and depend on various factors such as vaccine availability, eligibility, and mandates.

Bing, 6/22/2023

(1) Nearly 80 percent of teachers, school staff, and childcare workers ....

(2) Vaccination rates rise among teachers and other employees as a mandate ....

(3) Vaccination Coverage with Selected Vaccines and Exemption Rates Among ....

The pandemic has had a negative effect on standardized testing scores for many students across the country. According to a federal study¹, math and reading scores for America's 9-year-olds fell dramatically during the first two years of the pandemic, with reading scores seeing their largest decrease in 30 years and math scores having their first decrease in the history of the testing regimen. The study also found that students of color saw some of the steepest decreases, widening the racial achievement gap. Other sources²³⁴⁵⁶ also report similar findings of lower test scores and increased learning gaps during the pandemic. The pandemic has disrupted schools' vaccination requirement and provisional enrollment policies, documentation, and assessment activities. As schools continue to return to in-person learning, enforcement of vaccination policies and follow-up with undervaccinated students are important to improve vaccination coverage.

Bing, 6/22/2023

(1) 13-year-olds lack 'basic skills' in reading, math as standardized test scores reach lowest in years: US data.

(2) Online learning again linked to lower test scores.

(3) Latest national test results show striking drop in 13-year-olds’ math and reading scores.

(4) Math, reading scores plummet during COVID-19 : NPR.

(5) The pandemic has had devastating impacts on learning. What ... - Brookings.

(6) Class During Covid: The “Covid-slide” in standardized test scores.