by James A. Bacon

The COVID-19-related shutdowns of K-12 schools across the country have been educational disaster of historic proportions, according to data published in a new McKinsey & Company report. McKinsey doesn’t use the phrase “disaster of historic proportions,” but how else can one describe a response to the pandemic that left students on average five months behind in mathematics and four months in reading?

Worse yet, the racial gap in educational achievement has widened. Students in majority Black neighborhoods ended the year with six months of unfinished learning and students in low-income schools with seven months, the report says.

Over and above the lost academic ground, the shutdowns had a tremendous adverse impact on children’s mental health. Thirty-five percent of parents say they are “very” or “extremely” worried, a significant increase from pre-pandemic levels.

The numbers are national in scope. McKinsey did not break down estimates by state, so there are no Virginia-specific numbers. But given the fact that the school shutdowns were more pervasive and longer lasting on average in parts of Virginia, especially in Northern Virginia and center-city jurisdictions, one can predict that the educational collapse is at least as catastrophic in the Old Dominion as in other states.

The long-term consequences will be terrible for all students, but they will be worst for Blacks and Hispanics. States McKinsey:

We estimate that, without immediate and sustained interventions, pandemic-related unfinished learning could reduce lifetime earnings for K-12 students by an average of $49,000 to $61,000. These costs are significant, especially for students who have lost more learning. While white students may see lifetime earnings reduced by 1.4 percent, the reduction could be as much as 2.4 percent for Black students and 2.1 percent for Hispanic students.

Meanwhile, McKinsey, the shutdowns might have lingering after-effects even after schools reopen this fall.

Some students will have dropped out of formal schooling entirely, and those who remain in school may be reluctant to return to physical classrooms. Our survey results suggest that 24 percent of parents are still not convinced they will choose in-person instruction for their children this fall. Within Black communities, that rises to 34 percent.

In other words, the situation may continue to deteriorate.

Bacon’s bottom line: We cannot blame the shutdowns on “COVID,” as if the virus shut down the schools. These disastrous outcomes are the direct result of political decisions. Here in Virginia, some public schools (mainly rural) stayed open. Many if not most private schools stayed open. In other countries, many public schools stayed open.

Let’s put the blame squarely where it belongs. The schools where in-school learning was most restricted and the educational losses most pronounced were nearly all run by politically “progressive” school boards, which were far more focused over the past year on putting the tenets of Critical Race Theory into practice than ensuring that children got an education. The same can be said of the Northam administration, which showed zero leadership on school closings even while it was pushing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and re-writing guidelines for transgender students.

Responsibility for these disastrous results could not possibly be clearer. Judged by results, Governor Ralph Northam will go down in history as the worst governor for education in Virginia history since Massive Resistance. The names Ralph Northam, Atif Qarni and James Lane will live in annals of educational infamy. But the fault is not all theirs. Local “woke” school board in Virginia’s largest cities and counties are equally to blame, as are teacher unions that lobbied for school closings. If voters don’t see fit to throw the bums out this year, there is truly no hope for the Commonwealth.


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35 responses to “Nuking the Schools”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar
    LarrytheG

    I found this pretty interesting:

    ” Some Black parents say remote learning gives racism reprieve”

    and this:

    ” Black families increasingly choose to homeschool kids”

    and this:

    ” The Rise of Homeschooling Among Black Families
    African American parents are increasingly taking their kids’ education into their own hands—and in many cases, it’s to protect them from institutional racism and stereotyping.”

    I don’t think non-Conservative voters will any more blame Northam than other states voters their governors.

    The reality is not what Conservatives want to believe. They’ve always had problems with public schools, have always supported non-public schools. Nothing new there. This time around, they get to use the pandemic for their excuses.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar
    LarrytheG

    re: ” Responsibility for these disastrous results could not possibly be clearer. Judged by results, Governor Ralph Northam will go down in history as the worst governor for education in Virginia history since Massive Resistance. ”

    What a load of grade A BS! What Northam did was NOT one-size-fits-all but instead allowed each district to determine their own needs and direction.

    And what exactly did Virginia do that was fundamentally different than most other states? Nothing. Virtually all states had similar issues along with the childish antics of folks who call themselves Conservatives.

    No matter, it’s STILL Northam’s fault and mind you worse than Massive Resistance even!

    The main problem with the pandemic is the idiots who cannot control their behaviors – across the spectrum – education only one area.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      “Idiots who cannot control their behaviors”. We’ll be on the lookout.

    2. WayneS Avatar

      Over the last 60 days or so, it seems to me that your ad-hominin attacks against conservatives, and anyone else who disagrees with you about the covid crisis, have gone from occasional to frequent to virtually constant. And I don’t understand it.

      Your guy is in the Whitehouse. Your party controls the country. Your party controls the Commonwealth of Virginia. Your party has a lock on 95% of the media.

      You should be ecstatic. Why, then, do you appear so angry, hostile, hateful and unreasonable? I have found it no longer possible to engage in rational discourse with you without being subject to arrogant, high-handed, condescending, snide, inaccurate and sometimes incomprehensible responses. You are, quite literally, acting like a troll. Will you please explain why?

      PS – Whatever else he may have said in his article, Mr. Bacon did not say Northam’s behavior is worse than massive resistance. (an inaccurate response from you, as noted above).

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        Ad Hominem means to the person. Do you understand?

        Want a definition?

        and when you ascribe motives specifically to ME, you ARE engaging in Ad Hominems.. dude…

        “trolling” you also need a definition for… do you read and understand?

        want more? keep it up.

        1. Matt Adams Avatar
          Matt Adams

          Ad hom means to the character of a person instead of the merits of their argument. Something you and your trolly brethren cannot and will not understand.

        2. WayneS Avatar

          I predicted you would react this way. I ascribed no motives to you whatsoever. It is obvious that you either did not see the words “seems”, “appear” and “acting” in my post or you do not understand what they mean. I took great efforts to not call you names or issue outright accusations..

          I have done what I could to try to get you to perhaps take a look at how you’ve been acting lately. Clearly you have no interest. Okay.

          Finally, I did not use the term “trolling” I used the term “troll”. You apparently also do not know what the word “literally” means.

        3. WayneS Avatar

          RE: want more? keep it up.

          Sure, why not. Go ahead. It will be fun.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            No. You first – as per your habit. And if your claim of Association Fallacy is a form of Ad Hominem is true – why don’t you ALSO call many of the blog posts in BR that name call and use pejoratives to describe groups?

            Seems like if Jim can call folks “leftists” and “social justice warriors” and “racists” et, etc, ad nauseum, then responses certainly can also…

            And really who made YOU the Ad Hominem police in the first place?

            And lousy at it to boot, you don’t even call out Bacon when he does the same thing by impugning groups of people.

            ” nearly all run by politically “progressive” school boards, which were far more focused over the past year on putting the tenets of Critical Race Theory into practice than ensuring that children got an education. The same can be said of the Northam administration, which showed zero leadership on school closings even while it was pushing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and re-writing guidelines for transgender students.”

            The above is just one example of him doing this – over and over and over…

            If Bacon can say this why can’t others call it out as the very same ” Association Fallacy” also?

        4. WayneS Avatar

          By the way, while your literal translation of Latin is correct, there are multiple types of Ad Hominem arguments/attacks. For instance, the Association Fallacy is a form of Ad Hominem. The “conservatives this” and “conservatives that” arguments you use against people who contribute to this blog fall into the realm of Association Fallacy.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            really? got a link? only a fallacy to those who don’t agree… right? But no, you don’t know what an Ad Hominem is apparently cuz you keep doing it and keep confusing it with other things.

          2. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/logicalfallacies/Ad-Hominem-Guilt-by-Association

            Send that larbears way, he blocked me when I called him out for fallacies.

          3. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            What?! Larry blocked you?! Here, let me call you a wambulance!!

          4. Matt Adams Avatar
            Matt Adams

            Where was I “whining” in that statement, you’re more childish as the days go on.

          5. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            😉

      2. The educational system obviously failed LarrytheG somewhere along the line. He cannot parse the difference in meaning between “the worst since Massive Resistance” and “worse than Massive Resistance.” He brings the same singular analytical skills to much of his commentary.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar
          LarrytheG

          indeed. playing with words and masquerading as journalism and whining about not being “respected” for “news”.

          yup.

          1. WayneS Avatar

            “Playing with words”

            That’s hilarious. You’re blaming the writer because you misunderstood what he wrote and then made a foolish comment about it.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            yep, my bad.

        2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
          Eric the half a troll

          Either would be considered hyperbolic, so Larry’s point stands, imo.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            Wayne claims that if you impugn an entire group that it’s called an ” Association Fallacy” which is also consider an Ad Hominem.

            Look at Jim B’s posts and see how many groups of people he (and others) regularly impugn and demonize.

            If Wayne is the Ad Hom Police, is he using a double standard?

            It looks to me that Jim encourages this if he starts off impugning groups of people himself.

            That’s one of the changes in this blog over time. Not that far back, there were almost no posts that impugned people and groups , it was rare.

            Now, it’s an almost everyday things here with many of the blog authors – notable exceptions like Dick.

          2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            These guys think this is debate club. It is clearly not. They will figure it out eventually.

      3. Matt Adams Avatar
        Matt Adams

        Broad brush statements are easier and don’t require knowledge of a topic to make.

        What drives me bonkers is when posters make generalized statements deriding the “right” or “left”. It takes little to no thought to makes those statements and is nothing but mudslinging.

  3. Don’t be surprised if evidence of increased gaps in educational achievement is cited as just more evidence of systemic racism justifying more CRT-related measures. The CRT “lens” does a marvelous job of turning everything into “evidence” supporting its position. CRT is “critical” of every one and everything except itself.

    1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
      Baconator with extra cheese

      Bingo.

  4. LarrytheG Avatar
    LarrytheG

    The thing that really amazes me is that this was/is the perfect opportunity to offer alternatives to the public education that Conservatives so hate.

    As bad as public school virtual schooling is said to be – the perfect opportunity for non-public schools to show how to do it “right”. Instead of doing what Bacon does spinning his wheels blaming Northam – why not talk about how private schools, without those danged teacher unions and lily-livered leftie school boards and administrators – have demonstrated a better approach?

    Instead, we get the same old, same old, blame game.

    Are Conservatives so impotent that they cannot see opportunity staring them in the face and show public schools how to do it “right”?

    What a bunch of losers!

    All they seem capable of is playing partisan blame games.

    Who would ever want them in charge of public education to start with!

    Yes, kids HAVE lost several months of “education” but it’s not the end of the world (unless you are a whining Conservative). At the worst they need to catch up , perhaps year-around school and/or perhaps laser focus on reading and math and less emphasis on remembering who the Founding Fathers were or happy slaves, or CRT.

    Conservatives have the full range of opportunities here – and al they seem capable of is raising hell in blogs and school board meetings instead of walking the walk.

    1. WayneS Avatar

      The claim that conservatives as a whole hate public schools is a bare-faced lie and you know it. Do you know what repeating a lie which you know is a lie makes you?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        Pretty much not and certainly not in BR where the flogging continues. Oh stop with the ad homs fool.

    2. CJBova Avatar

      This time, you’ve lost it. Public schools are not going away. Parent who can homeschool are homeschooling. Parents who can afford private school or get scholarships are using private schools. Charter schools can enroll a small fraction of the remaining students and the existing system reduces the chances of starting new ones. So that leaves all other students in public school.

      Do we see VDOE concentrating on how to help children impacted by on-line learning or have we seen VDOE concentrating on CRT and SEL from kindergarten on up, previously and continuing now.

      Do teachers unions/associations put forth concepts for helping children who were already behind catch up? The biggest story at https://www.veanea.org/ is about collective bargaining, with another how it is a “game-changer for public schools,” dealing iwth “toxic stress”, and 4 paragraphs about dealing with “the long-term effects of the current crisis,” but those are a call for “deeper public commitment” and “stronger political will.”

      Why do you concentrate on people who observe and comment on the problems of the schools instead of the people in place IN the schools and supervising and directing the school districts?

      NN has done you no favors by encouraging you to go on these tirades.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        Carol – have you always been an opponent of public education? or did you change ?

      2. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        Carol – do you think public schools really “fail” the kids? Do you think most teachers in Virginia belong to “unions”? Do you personally know many teachers? I’ve spent much of my adult life around a dozen or more teachers – all grades, different schools. In my mind, they are the salt of the earth and worth every penny they earn. I’d never diss them. I know how hard they work at that job.

        Does VDOE help the kids? Do you seriously think they do not? Virginia public schools are required to report their results – that’s transparency and accountability – that then is used by opponents to impugn them. I don’t think much of that nor the folks that do that to be honest with you. VDOE is like any bureaucracy. They have a mission and they do it. I’m not sure exactly what folks would have them do that they are not already doing to be honest.

      3. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        “Charter schools can enroll a small fraction of the remaining students and the existing system reduces the chances of starting new ones. So that leaves all other students in public school.”

        Charter schools are public schools, you know…

        1. LarrytheG Avatar
          LarrytheG

          Maybe depends – I consider public schools ones that receive public funding AND are required to report their academic results just like other public schools.

          But that’snot the real problem with public schools for many opponents, though…

  5. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    Reparations checks might not be a bad idea. $41,000 a kid times 1.2 million lets see now: $49,200,000,000. Better to do it now. It will be more costly waiting. Make sure Northam signs every one of those checks personally. 1.2 million signatures should keep him busy until January 15th.

  6. LarrytheG Avatar
    LarrytheG

    What could be interesting and perhaps even convincing is reporting how the schools that stayed out actually did. Since we have the data for the schools that did not, do we have the data for the ones that did so we can compare?

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