What began as a photo op for the president to visit a Virginia classroom on Monday ended up being an indictment of remote learning.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden made the short trip to Yorktown Elementary School on Monday, where students who now attend classes four days a week told the real story of what it was like when learning was online, Fox News reported.
“How did you like doing this from home?” the president asked.
One fifth-grade student said, “If we were like really tired, we could like take a little nap.”
Another said, “Sometimes when Ms. B was like paying attention to something else you could eat and it was fun.”
Yet another student said that dodging tough questions online was a breeze.
“If you don’t know the question, you can just pretend like your mic doesn’t work,” the student said.
When the president and first lady asked the children to grade virtual learning, the results were mixed.
“It was OK,” one said.
Another was more emphatic.
“I didn’t like virtual,” the child said. “It was terrible.”
Multiple studies have shown that lockdowns and remote learning had a serious negative impact on America’s children.
Lockdowns have led to a dramatic loss in learning among America’s children, according to a new report that calls for getting children back into schools.
“It is vitally important to weigh the public health benefits of school closures against the academic and social-emotional costs suffered by students, families, and society as a whole,” Bailey wrote.
It did not take long for remote learning to go wrong. According to the report, one analysis by Boston Consulting Group and Common Sense Media found that by May 12, 2020, roughly two months after mass closures hit, “parents reported only 4.2 hours of live virtual contact between their children and teachers over the previous seven days.”
By December, that analysis found, “22 percent of households earning less than $22,000 reported no live contact with their teachers.”
Citing a model developed by the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, the University of Amsterdam and Yale University, Bailey’s report shared the group’s conclusion that “learning gaps grew during the pandemic.”
“Our model also predicts that wider achievement gaps will persist until children finish high school, suggesting that children’s long term prospects are at risk,” the university researchers wrote.
A Stanford University study estimated an average student lost between 57 and 183 days of learning how to read and between 136 and 232 days of math lessons — and that was just in the spring of 2020, the report said.
Meanwhile, according to the report, as many as 3 million at-risk students may not have been connected to any form of learning — remote or in-person — since March, citing a study by Bellwether Education Partners. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, 50,000 black and Hispanic middle and high school students were not regular participants in online learning.
As a result, learning suffered.
One sample found that students “learned only 67 percent of the math and 87 percent of the reading that grade-level peers would typically have learned by the fall. Following those trends, students could lose as much as nine months of learning in math by the end of the year.”
The new report said that a group called Renaissance Learning found that in math, “all grades showed students performing below expectations, with some grades 12 or more weeks behind.”
“Researchers estimated fifth and sixth graders would need as many as twelve or more weeks of additional instruction in math to reach beginning-of-year expectations. For reading, Renaissance estimated children in fourth through seventh grades would need four to seven weeks to catch up,” the report said.
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