Study Shows COVID Learning Loss Can Permanently Harm an Entire Generation of Students –

Washington Policy Center’s Liv Finne discusses the results of a recent study on the impact of school closings on students

Liv Finn
Washington Policy Center

According to a new study by McKinsey and Co, the effects of COVID school closings can “depress the prospects of this generation and limit their chances well into adulthood”.

The study shows that students are four to six months behind in reading and math. Students in low-income schools are seven months behind. McKinsey says the impact on their lives could be permanent if students can’t make up for those losses:

The consequences of the pandemic threaten to depress the prospects of this generation and limit their chances well into adulthood. The effects can undermine their chances of going to college and ultimately finding a fulfilling job that will allow them to support a family.

Liv FinnLiv Finn

Washington’s public school system failed the COVID test. The WEA union kept public schools closed for most of the 2020-21 school year as private schools and public charter schools found ways to teach effectively and even safely. State Superintendent Reykdal canceled state tests in May so no one knows the full extent of the COVID learning loss. Under the influence of the WEA union, legislators financed empty seats in the classrooms and passed SB 5044, SB 5227, SB 5228 and SB 5194 requiring school staff to receive training on divisive and harmful content of the Critical Race Theory.

In contrast, other states responded to COVID by providing direct educational assistance to families. In 2021, lawmakers in eighteen states created new educational savings programs and expanded tax credit scholarship programs. These programs provide funds for families to hire tutors and pay private school fees so their children can recover from their COVID learning losses.

Two lawmakers tried to give families education money. Senator Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) introduced SB 5200 to provide grants of $ 15,000 to families with special needs children and foster children. Representative Vicki Kraft (R-Vancouver) introduced HB 1215 to provide families with an educational opportunity scholarship of $ 7,000. These bills have been blocked by representatives from the WEA union, Senator Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island), Chair of the Senate Education Committee, and Representative Sharon Tomiko-Santos (D-Seattle), Chair of the House Education Committee.

An entire generation of children has been injured by the state public schools and legislature response to the COVID crisis. Many have dropped out of school and may not have graduated from high school. Some have developed psychological problems. Many will earn significantly less over the course of their lives and will never fully recover from the effects of the 2020-21 school year.

The good news is that before the COVID crisis, parents will not be returning to the status quo. They now understand that the WEA union has too much control over their children’s education in their local school districts and in the legislature. Parents are now running for the school board, organizing political groups and finding like-minded allies. Demand for parenting education savings accounts and scholarships for private schools will increase as parents demand control of money so families, not unions, can direct the education of the state’s children.

Liv Finne is the director of the Center for Education at the Washington Policy Center.

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