To Prioritize Both Student Learning and Student Health, Schools Must Work Differently This Fall | Opinion (The Hill)


The Hill | As states and communities across the nation address the significant public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and begin the intentional reopening of our communities, it is important to also look ahead to an important benchmark: the return to school for the nation’s 51 million Pre-K — 12 students. 

COVID-19 has created not only a devastating public health crisis but a real crisis in learning, requiring its own intensive recovery planning.

Research by the respected NWEA, a global not-for-profit educational services organization, suggests that students will return in fall 2020 with only 70 percent of the learning gains in reading compared to a typical school year. In math, students are likely to return with less than 50 percent of the typical learning gains. 

In some grades and locations, students may return nearly a full year behind what we would normally see. In high poverty schools, students are already susceptible to higher levels of summer learning loss; this pandemic will likely exacerbate existing equity gaps.

As we look ahead to school buildings reopening, state and local leaders should be focused on three major areas:

  • Planning and preparing for a very different kind of school year.
  • Investing in the innovations and technologies needed for rapid learning recovery.
  • Holding the line on proven policies and investments that advance student achievement.

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