(THE FEDERALIST) – As Christmas break approaches again, it’s apparent that COVID-19 restrictions from the last two school years have taken a serious toll on the students. Students at all levels have shown a learning loss in the core disciplines, and many districts are looking at ways around directly addressing this issue, either by eliminating clear standards for learning or eliminating various graduation requirements altogether.
What complicates this problem is that the students suffering the worst learning loss are non-white students. While states and school districts are reporting huge learning declines on math and reading tests overall, black and Hispanic kids as a group have often fallen behind twice or three times as far.
Thus, any proposed school reform must not only remediate the students who have fallen behind, but must also be enforced in such a way that assures racial equity. Unfortunately, rather than raising struggling students to the level of their peers, it’s more common for school leaders to bring down those peers to the level of the struggling student. See, for example, New York City eliminating its gifted program and California eliminating advanced math classes.
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