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COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning

The law of unintended consequences? No, the law of government doing the most destructive things possible in spite of consequences.

McKinsey: COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning

By Emma Dorn, Bryan Hancock, Jimmy Sarakatsannis, and Ellen Viruleg, July 27, 2021


Our analysis shows that the impact of the pandemic on K–12 student learning was significant, leaving students on average five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year. The pandemic widened preexisting opportunity and achievement gaps, hitting historically disadvantaged students hardest. In math, students in majority Black schools ended the year with six months of unfinished learning, students in low-income schools with seven. High schoolers have become more likely to drop out of school, and high school seniors, especially those from low-income families, are less likely to go on to postsecondary education. And the crisis had an impact on not just academics but also the broader health and well-being of students, with more than 35 percent of parents very or extremely concerned about their children’s mental health.

The fallout from the pandemic threatens to depress this generation’s prospects and constrict their opportunities far into adulthood. The ripple effects may undermine their chances of attending college and ultimately finding a fulfilling job that enables them to support a family. Our analysis suggests that, unless steps are taken to address unfinished learning, today’s students may earn $49,000 to $61,000 less over their lifetime owing to the impact of the pandemic on their schooling. The impact on the US economy could amount to $128 billion to $188 billion every year as this cohort enters the workforce.


Unfinished learning is real—and inequitable

To assess student learning through the pandemic, we analyzed Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready in-school assessment results of more than 1.6 million elementary school students across more than 40 states... Students testing in 2021 were about ten points behind in math and nine points behind in reading, compared with matched students in previous years...

While all types of students experienced unfinished learning, some groups were disproportionately affected. Students of color and low-income students suffered most. Students in majority-Black schools ended the school year six months behind in both math and reading, while students in majority-white schools ended up just four months behind in math and three months behind in reading.  Students in predominantly low-income schools and in urban locations also lost more learning during the pandemic than their peers in high-income rural and suburban schools (Exhibit 1).


The harm inflicted by the pandemic goes beyond academics

Parents also report increases in clinical mental health conditions among their children, with a five-percentage-point increase in anxiety and a six-percentage-point increase in depression. They also report increases in behaviors such as social withdrawal, self-isolation, lethargy, and irrational fears (Exhibit 5).

...Some students have already effectively dropped out of formal education entirely...2.3 million to 4.6 million additional eighth- to 12th-grade students were chronically absent from school this year, in addition to the 3.1 million who are chronically absent in nonpandemic years...


WIND: count on goverment to cause 10 problems for every problem it claims to solve.

With the teacher’s unions the single greatest source of systemic racism (poor educations with no alternatives mean a lifetime of suffering), we can now add explicit government COVID policies on top of that depravity. Oh, and layer on CRT for the poison on the shit-cake.

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