Government lockdowns following the COVID-19 outbreak caused unprecedented declines in American students’ math and reading test scores, according to new findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” the NAEP report is the Department of Education’s biennial measure of the health and effectiveness of American schools as measured by student performance.
This year’s report is bleak.
Math and reading scores fell significantly in almost every state from 2019 to 2022, according to the report. Reading scores dropped to the lowest level in three decades, while nearly 40 percent of eighth graders could not understand basic math concepts.
The lockdowns, which were vigorously supported by teachers‘ unions in Maine and across the country, forced students out of schools and into chaotic home learning environments. The decline in test scores over the last three years was most severe among black and hispanic students, according to the Department of Education.
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In 2021, one teachers’ union official went so far as to call “learning loss” a fake crisis.
“There’s no such thing as learning loss,” L.A. teachers’ union head Cecily Myart-Cruz told L.A. Mag.
The NAEP results offer conclusive proof that “learning loss” is a very real phenomenon — a phenomenon experienced only in parts of the world where governments ordered the closure of schools.
Academic research on pandemic era learning in Sweden, which did not close its schools, showed no indications of learning loss.
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UPDATE: Gov. Mills addressed the low test scores during Monday night debate, suggesting that the solution was to spend more money on Maine schools, including raises for teachers:
The COVID mortality rates are even lower that previously indicated too. Something like .000 nothing. There was no reason to keep kids home. Mills and the teachers really hurt our kids by overreacting and being stubborn even when the data came rolling in. Younger, fitter, and less compromised teachers and administrators could have easily kept the school trains running and kids learning.