Whenever I think back to the annus horribilis that was 2020, I am immediately hit with a flood of emotions, none of which are good. I should clarify that I really don’t like emotions, they interfere with the important business of the day.
Chief among those emotions is anger, which I really don’t do much anymore. I’m angry that so much power was given to so many petty tyrants. I’m angry that so many people went along with it. I’m most angry about my daughter losing her final semester of college, her graduation, and her final track season. I think I’m still more upset about it than she is.
Thankfully, my daughter was not a child in the spring of 2020 and she was already planning on not being in school in the fall.
The millions of American kids who were in elementary, middle, and high school then were about to enter into an extended period of unexpected time off from school. Sure, it sounds like fun at first, but, as any school kid knows, the longer you’re out of class, the harder it is to go back.
COVID made that more harshly true than ever.
For two years, schools and researchers have wrestled with pandemic-era learning setbacks resulting mostly from a lack of in-person classes. They are struggling to combat the learning loss, as well as to measure just how deep it is. Some answers to the second question are becoming clear. National data show that children who were learning to read earlier in the pandemic have the lowest reading proficiency rates in about 20 years.
The U.S. Department of Education last Thursday released data showing that from 2020 to 2022, average reading scores for 9-year-olds slid 5 points—to 215 out of a possible 500—in the sharpest decline since 1990. Average math scores fell 7 points to 234, the first statistically significant decline in math scores since the long-term trend assessments began in the 1970s.
So much of what was done in the name of public health was, put mildly, very unhealthy. A lot that happened during the early days of the pandemic might be forgiven one day. There was a lot of confusion then, after all. As time went on though, public officials were still flailing and winging it. The village idiots were in charge of all of the villages.
Inexplicably, they’re still in charge in some places.
This is from my friend Bethany Mandel writing in The Spectator:
Even in the fall of 2022, the war on American school children in urban areas isn’t over. In Washington, DC, a new vaccine mandate is set to take effect for students twelve and over; if enforced, it could lock 40 percent of the city’s black students out of classrooms and back onto Zoom (if they even log on, which, if experience is any indicator, the majority would not).
The teachers’ unions and the Democratic politicians who shill for them blather on about doing what’s best for the children. As I wrote in January of last year, COVID has exposed them as the frauds that they are. They don’t give a damn about any kids. If they did, they wouldn’t be keeping them out of school by mandating a vaccine that has not at all worked as advertised.
Or they wouldn’t be starting this school year by going on strike and causing classes to be canceled.
Most studies about the negative effects of shutting down schools have found — not too surprisingly — that they were worse where the schools were shut down longer. The teachers’ unions fought the hardest to keep schools closed. They were actually saying that it was a death sentence if they had to return to in-person teaching,
In a perfect world, union officials and their minion politicians would be held criminally responsible for the damage they’ve done to America’s youth. Then the unions would be disbanded.
Alas, the world isn’t perfect and people are only held accountable for old unwoke social media posts.
The best case scenario is that more and more parents will realize that many of the power brokers in public education have zero concern for the children in their charge.
We’re getting there.