In the fall, many K-12 school districts made the difficult decision to move instruction online. Many schools are continuing a fully or partially online curriculum into the spring semester, which could further worsen the learning loss many students have faced. As Julie Havlak writes this week for Carolina Journal:
Remote learning was a disaster. Roughly 19% of students stopped attending classes regularly. State officials expect fewer students to graduate or advance to the next grade. The damage will last years, and experts fear it will ripple out into the economy.
Many parents anticipated the challenges remote learning could present for their children and chose to move their children into homeschool. The overwhelming influx of parents registering to home school their children this year even crashed the N.C. Department of Administration website in July. As Dr. Terry Stoops explains in a research brief from the John Locke Foundation:
In some cases, working parents simply did not have the luxury of staying at home to supervise remote learning. As a result, they sought to enroll their children in schools that offered full-time in-person instruction. Other parents explored alternatives because they had legitimate concerns about inadequate safety measures or substandard instruction in the public schools assigned to their children.
The effects of this learning loss are felt most acutely in the households of disadvantaged students and minority communities. Dr. Stoops comments for Carolina Journal:
“We don’t know the severity of the learning loss,” said Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation director of education studies. “But disadvantaged students are more likely to fall behind academically. They’re less likely to graduate and pursue post-secondary education. There’s long-term harm if they don’t reach or exceed grade level in reading and math.”