It’s week 128 of our new reality and recent state test results make clear the enormous learning losses students have experienced during the pandemic.
“For the second year in a row, Virginia public school students fared worse on the annual state accountability tests than in years before the coronavirus pandemic,” writes Jessica Nocera for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Across all grade levels, 66% of students overall passed the mathematics exam, compared with 82% who passed in 2018-19, the testing year prior to the pandemic. Science passing rates also plummeted statewide, from 81% in 2018-19 to 65% this year.”
Similarly, Chalkbeat’s Erica Meltzer and Melanie Asmarin report that in the newly released Colorado statewide test results only “40% of ninth graders met or exceeded expectations in math, compared with almost 50% in 2019.” In Denver Public Schools, the new results also revealed enormous achievement gaps: “72% of white students met expectations on state literacy tests, while 26% of Black students and 24% of Hispanic students did.”
Every new piece of information we get adds to a growing picture of a generation of students whose learning was significantly disrupted by school closures, interrupted instruction and our failures to meet their learning needs.
Last time in the New Reality Roundup, we explored what we all can learn from the educational innovations in Arizona and looked ahead to the 2022-23 school year with a focus on heading off potential disruptions to learning before they start.
This week, we look at shifting public attitudes towards K-12 education and take a look at whether students are getting access to the recovery programs they deserve.
FROM THE FIELD
The TennesseeCAN Action Fund won 13 of the 15 races they worked on for the primaries earlier this month, including victories over two incumbents who, for years, have stood in the way of families choosing the education that’s right for them.
JerseyCAN and new Executive Director Paula White kicked off their inaugural summer program for parents with the help of Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz and Senate Education Chair Vin Gopel. Leader Ruiz told the parent advocates: “JerseyCAN is training the next generation of parent leaders, which can help further develop needed activism and information sharing on the local level. I applaud these parents’ advocacy on behalf of their children. Their commitment to our state’s future was inspiring, and I look forward to seeing these parent advocates in action in upcoming months and years.”
GeorgiaCAN continues in their years-long advocacy to support families with students with special needs by hosting a webinar this Thursday to help parents understand, analyze and self-advocate with IEPs.
Moment of Resilience
In this photo, New Jersey mom Brenaea Fairchilds helps a child interact with goats on a local outing for the homeschool collaborative she founded, The Melanin Village. Ms. Fairchilds and other homeschooling moms were featured on a recent Today Show segment that noted Black homeschooling rates have increased from 3% pre-pandemic to 16% now. Bernita Bradley, who works with homeschool collaborative Engaged Detroit, spoke for many parents drawn to homeschooling during the pandemic: “We don’t have time to see generation after generation fail. We don’t have time to keep waiting.”