Virtual education is leading to a lack of education during the pandemic
Bottom Line: It’s not a surprise to learn that the widespread use of virtual education is leading to a dearth of education during the pandemic. In fact, prior to the start of the traditional school year (which was delayed for South Florida’s public schools due to the pandemic), I shared a study showing that only 12% of students perform better in a virtual learning environment, while greater than 60% learn less than when in a classroom. Approximately half of all grade school students across our state and the country as whole, are now “learning” in a virtual environment. Based on the first assessment of what being learned, the biggest issue is how much actually isn’t.
According to accredited non-profit NWEA, their fall assessment for 2020 shows a significant decline in grade school education. Their fall assessment, of 4.4 million students between 3rd and 8th grade showed the following:
- An average decline in math scores of between 5 to 10 points depending on the grade.
- Those youngest were performing worst in the virtual education environment
- The average student is now a half a grade year behind where they had been last fall
It’s worth noting that in 2019 the US already ranked a woeful 36th in the world in math education outcomes. By comparison, in 1980 at the time of the creation of the Department of Education, the US ranked 2nd worldwide. So, we’re now talking about significant declines from already substandard levels. While the pandemic has presented a bit of a time warp for all of us the reality is this. Time is still moving forward at the same pace as before, however our already challenged education establishment isn’t. It’s literally going backwards while time is moving forward and it’s leaving most students in the dust. The evidence is quite clear. Younger children should be prioritized for classroom education and unless your kids are among the 12% who thrive in the virtual environment at any age, virus or no virus, it’s likely important that they are inside classrooms for education. Governor DeSantis is correct to keep Florida’s schools open during the duration of this pandemic. The impact of the lack of learning during the pandemic would likely be worse than the virus itself for most families.
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