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Exclusive: We just got the most comprehensive study of pandemic learning loss

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We just got the most comprehensive study of pandemic learning loss

#comprehensive #study #pandemic #learning #loss

In March 2020, schools across the country switched to remote learning due to the pandemic. But they didn’t all switch back to in-person learning at the same time. Now, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the impact of those decisions on students.

Thomas Kane, faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, is part of a team that recently released the broadest analysis of pandemic learning loss to date. They crunched data from over 2 million students across 10,000 elementary and middle schools.

One of their biggest findings: the speed at which schools returned to in-person learning was the key factor in how far students fell behind. “In schools that remained in-person throughout 2021, students lost ground, but they lost about seven to 10 weeks of instruction. In school districts that were remote for more than half of 2021, students in high-poverty schools in those districts lost the equivalent of 22 weeks of instruction, so more than half a year,” Kane tells Today, Explained host Sean Rameswaram in this episode.

To understand how the pandemic impacted America’s kids, Today, Explained — Vox’s daily news explainer podcast — reported on Cramer Hill Elementary School in Camden, New Jersey, throughout the past academic year. In October 2021 the show covered how difficult it was for school staff to balance making up learning loss and keeping kids safe. In December 2021, they explored the challenges of vaccinating kids. And in June of 2022, the show returned one last time for the eighth-grade class’s graduation. It was a triumphant capstone to a year defined by the students’ struggle to make up academic and social deficits created by the pandemic.

You can listen to the final episode in Today, Explained’s series on Cramer Hill Elementary below — or wherever you find podcasts. A partial transcript of Sean Rameswaram’s conversation with Thomas Kane, edited for length and clarity, is below.

Sean Rameswaram

What were your takeaways?

Thomas Kane

We found that even in parts of the country where schools did not shut down, students lost ground. Remember, everybody went remote in spring of 2020. And we see that that achievement slowed down even in places that went back to in-person pretty quickly. However, in places where schools remained remote for more than half of 2021, there were much larger losses, especially for students attending high-poverty schools.

In the areas where students remained in-person for 2021, students lost ground. But there was no widening of gaps between Black and white students, between high-poverty and low-poverty schools. Everybody lost about the same amount. But in areas that went remote for more than half of 2021, achievement gaps widened pretty dramatically between high-poverty and low-poverty schools, between Blacks and whites, between whites and Hispanics.

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Sean Rameswaram

How exactly do you measure that?

Thomas Kane

When we say students lost ground, I’m not literally saying people forgot how to do algebra or forgot how to read. It was that they didn’t grow as much in algebra or math, and they didn’t grow as much in reading as we would expect them to grow. Students are learning all the time. It’s just that they learn much faster when school is in-person.

Sean Rameswaram

So even if the schools were remote for comparable periods of time, lower-income families did worse. Is that right?

Thomas Kane

Kids in high-poverty schools lost the equivalent of about 22 weeks of instruction if their schools were remote for half the year or more. And students in low-poverty schools, or higher-income students, lost ground, too. But rather than 22 weeks, they lost about 13 weeks … It was almost as if we flipped a switch on a critical part of our social infrastructure. Where schools stayed open, gaps did not widen; where schools closed, gaps widened dramatically. Horace Mann used to argue that schools are the balance wheel of the social machinery. I think we got a chance to see that.

Sean Rameswaram

What can schools do now to make up for what’s been lost?

Thomas Kane

Well, I know everybody is eager to get back to normal, but I hope people recognize that normal is not going to be enough. Based on our calculations, virtually every student in the high-poverty schools that were remote for half the year of 2021 would need a tutor in order to catch up. The logistically least challenging option, but which is politically the least popular option, would be extending the school year over the next couple of years and then paying teachers, you know, time and a half, or [adding to] school bus drivers and other school staff pay. Make it worth people’s while to teach the additional time. School districts have the dollars through this federal aid that they’ve received over the last couple of years. And we just need to be thinking about what’s the scale of effort that’s going to be required to help students catch up.

Sean Rameswaram

How long do schools have to fix this?

Thomas Kane

Over the course of the pandemic, schools have received about $190 billion in federal aid, and much of that money is currently unspent. School districts have until the end of 2024 to spend those dollars. … We need to start planning for interventions far beyond the scale that most districts are currently contemplating. … We should be talking now about things like extending the school year at the end of next year. Not in the next few weeks, but at the end of next year. If we gave teachers and parents enough time to plan ahead, it is a challenge we could all take on. My sense — my fear — though, is people are underestimating the scale of the effort that’s going to be required to help students catch up.


Listen to previous episodes in the series:

How do you do, fellow kids? | October 21, 2021

School’s been back for a month. Today, Explained spent a month checking in with Cramer Hill Elementary to find out how it’s going.

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Are you vaxxed, fellow kids? | December 8, 2021

Today, Explained returns to Cramer Hill Elementary School to explore the challenges of vaccinating children against Covid-19.

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Exclusive: Gunman at Large After Killing Six at July 4th Parade – TalkOfNews.com

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Compelling Television

#Gunman #Large #Killing #July #4th #Parade

“At least six people were dead, 31 were hospitalized and a gunman was at large Monday afternoon after shooting Fourth of July paradegoers from a roof in this Chicago suburb,” the Washington Post reports.

“Video from the scene appeared to show blood pooled on the sidewalk and police talking to people in downtown Highland Park. Others showed the chaos while loud bangs could be heard on the downtown street where chairs, toys and blankets were strewn.”

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Exclusive: Biden Wants To Scrap Filibuster To Codify Abortion Into Law – Manchin And Sinema Refuse To Budge – TalkOfNews.com

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Biden Wants To Scrap Filibuster To Codify Abortion Into Law – Manchin And Sinema Refuse To Budge

#Biden #Scrap #Filibuster #Codify #Abortion #Law #Manchin #Sinema #Refuse #Budge

President Biden on Thursday called on the Senate to carve out an ‘exception’ to the filibuster as a means to codify abortion rights into law following the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“The most important thing to be clear about is I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law, and the way to do that is to make sure the Congress votes to do that,” Biden told reporters at a NATO summit in Spain.

“And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, it should be we provide an exception for this, requiring an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision,” he added.

One reporter openly wondered if Biden, whose popularity is at record lows and who has struggled to coalesce his party around any significant policy achievements, is the best messenger.

“Yeah, I am,” he snapped back. “I’m the president of the United States of America. That makes me the best messenger.”

RELATED: Flashback: Biden Supported Constitutional Amendment Overturning Roe v. Wade, Said It Went ‘Too Far’

Biden Wants to End Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

It’s no mystery as to why President Biden is seeking a filibuster ‘carveout’ to force abortion legislation into law.

The filibuster is designed to prolong debate and delay or prevent a vote on a bill. Ending debate requires the agreement of three-fifths (60) of Senators, or in today’s Congressional makeup – 10 Republicans would have to join the majority party.

Eliminate the filibuster, and suddenly a bill to codify abortion rights into law requires 50 votes in a Senate divided 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris giving the tie-breaking vote to the Democrats.

Fortunately, however, it turns out Biden isn’t the best messenger to eliminate the filibuster, with the idea already having been nixed.

Democrat Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) have, as they have consistently, vowed to protect the filibuster. And Biden’s comments haven’t swayed them one bit.

The Daily Mail reports that the pair’s offices reached out to them and Manchin’s said “the West Virginia Democrat’s position had not changed in light of the president’s new comments,” while Sinema’s referred them to a previous statement, a statement which reveals the filibuster has actually been used in the past to protect pro-choice legislation.

“Protections in the Senate safeguarding against the erosion of women’s access to health care have been used half-a-dozen times in the past ten years, and are more important now than ever,” Sinema said.

RELATED: Biden Calls To End Filibuster For Democrat Voting Bill, Something He Once Called A ‘Very Dangerous Thing To Do’

It’s Not Really an Exception

It’s important to note that when President Biden, Democrats, and the media use phrases like ‘carveout’ and ‘exception,’ they’re trying to create the illusion that this is the only time they’ll consider scrapping the filibuster.

In fact, it seems quite clear they’ll use it for nearly every platform they’d like to get passed in the Senate and squash the ability of the minority to stand in their way.

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In January, the same man talking about an ‘exception’ to codify Roe v. Wade into law delivered an angry speech calling on the Senate to change the filibuster in an effort to get Democrat voting reform legislation rammed through Congress with a simple majority.

He was so adamant about nixing the filibuster that he said anybody refusing to support voting reform was equivalent to being a segregationist or Confederate.

If Manchin and Sinema were to cave on this ‘carveout,’ do you think Democrats would revisit the voting reform bill?

And while those two Democrats have remained opposed to scrapping the filibuster, it’s important to remember that an ‘exception’ was made back in December after 14 Republicans joined in offering a one-time exception to suspend the filibuster, allowing Democrats exclusively to vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling.

That move led Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to refer to Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as “Biden’s bitch.”

Biden’s support for eliminating the filibuster is part of his new evolution since becoming President and being yanked to the extreme left by a party that is currently dominated by radicals.

In 2005, Biden called the nuclear option to weaken the filibuster an “arrogance of power,” and said eliminating it “would undermine the protections of a minority point of view” and have “long-term consequences.”

In 2019, President Biden called ending the filibuster a “very dangerous thing to do.”

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Now suddenly, ‘Danger’ is his middle name, as Biden throws caution to the wind and demands the filibuster be eliminated for policies and platforms he personally supports.

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Exclusive: Massachusetts A.G. on Concealed Carry After Bruen – TalkOfNews.com

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No Pseudonymity in Challenge to Federal Vaccination Mandate

#Massachusetts #Concealed #Carry #Bruen

From guidance issued Friday:

  • It remains unlawful to carry a firearm in Massachusetts without a license….
  • Licensing authorities should continue to enforce the “prohibited person” and
    “suitability” provisions of the license-to-carry statute….
  • Licensing authorities should cease enforcement of the “good reason” provision of the license-to-carry statute in response to Bruen. Authorities should no longer deny, or impose restrictions on, a license to carry because the applicant lacks a sufficiently good reason to carry a firearm. An applicant who is neither a “prohibited person” or “unsuitable” must be issued an unrestricted license to carry.
  • Licensing authorities may continue to inquire about the reasons why the applicant wants a license, but may only use that information to assess the prohibited person and suitability requirements of the statute. They may not use that information to deny or restrict a license for lack of a sufficiently good reason to carry a firearm.
  • The FID [Firearms Identification] Card Process Is Unaffected by Bruen. Because there is no “good reason” provision for issuance of an FID card, licensing authorities should continue to process and issue FID cards exactly as they did prior to Bruen….

The [Massachusetts concealed carry] statute instructs that a “determination of unsuitability shall be based on: (i) reliable and credible information that the applicant or licensee has exhibited or engaged in behavior that suggests that, if issued a license, the applicant or licensee may create a risk to public safety; or (ii) existing factors that suggest that, if issued a license, the applicant or licensee may create a risk to public safety.” …

Thanks to Dr. Ed for the pointer.

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