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Learning is back on track despite COVID

Education experts worried, as the start of the COVID-19 pandemic sent students into remote learning across the country, how those students would be affected. At the time, there was genuine concern that pandemic-related learning loss could affect students for the rest of their academic careers.

It turns out we may not have given enough credit to the ability of children to bounce back and the ability of teachers to help them do so.

Education Next studied data in Ohio that suggests we may already have turned a corner in recovering from the learning gap created from 2020 into 2021.

“Overall, the results provide grounds for some optimism about the trajectory of students’ academic recovery, but also suggest that the students hit hardest by pandemic learning disruptions have also made proportionately smaller gains since then, causing many inequities to persist,” Vladimir Kogan wrote for Education Next.

Among factors that may have contributed to a smoother recovery than anticipated is that when teachers are forced to think outside the box, they’re smart enough to recognize when they’ve hit on an idea that should stick around even after circumstances change. SOME of the changes made to accommodate learning during a pandemic might actually be good ones.

Another factor is simply that, when politicians and bureaucrats get out of their way, teachers know how to teach. They know how to bring their students back.

But, as the analysis points out, there are — as there have always been — students who will need more help.

Rather than look for a one-size-fits-all approach to tackling learning loss, it is important we let teachers do what they need to do for those kids, too.

“Nevertheless, the latest data provide strong evidence that-with sufficient political will, effort, and resources-pandemic learning losses can be reversed, and reversed relatively quickly,” Kogan wrote.

Wonderful. Teachers know how to do their jobs.

Now imagine, lawmakers, what those teachers could have done with a constitutional school funding formula in place, and without the fear of politicians meddling in what and how they teach.

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