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(DAILY TORCH) – The consequences of closing schools for roughly two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, which required many K-12 students nationwide to participate in remote learning, are starting to become apparent. The 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) found a significant decline in student proficiency of both reading and math among students in grade four and grade eight compared to 2019.
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After most schools were closed throughout 2020, districts nationwide turned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation guidelines to determine when it would be appropriate to reopen schools in 2021. The CDC has a long-standing practice of keeping draft guidance documents confidential, but senior officials within the agency shared the draft with the second largest teacher’s union in the nation- the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). AFT played an unprecedented role in the development of the phased mitigation guidelines that deviates from the CDC’s Evidence-Based Guidelines standards.
According to a damning report from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, the result of this CDC-AFT malfeasance was a set of guidelines intended to increase the likelihood of public schools remaining closed to in-person learning.