BY FORMER SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TENN.) AND DAVID MANSOURI, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS
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.