The Pandemic Era School Closing Detractors Were Right

People said school closures might induce developmental impairment. They predicted learning loss. 

Alas, the criticisms weren’t just ignored; they were attacked by politicians, news media celebrities, and school officials, most notably AFT President Randi Weingarten. Critics were labeled “grandma murderers” who weren’t “trusting” science. 

The pro-closure camp said youngsters are resilient. 

New findings reveal the huge school closures, which liberal politicians and teachers’ unions pushed with a religious frenzy, even after they were shown to be fanatical hogwash, harmed young kids.

The Washington Post stated on Sept. 1 that American schoolchildren’s exam scores plummeted.

The report cites the first national survey comparing student performance before and after the disease outbreak. Math and reading scores in elementary school plunged to levels not seen in decades. 

Math scores plummeted seven points, a first-ever loss. Reading scores fell five points.

This is the greatest drop in 30 years on the National Assessment for Educational Progress, or NAEP, frequently nicknamed ‘the nation’s report card.’ Nine-year-old fourth graders took the examinations in 2020 and 2022. The same story was reported in the NYT and WSJ. 

Who would’ve thought? Well quite a few people. 

Feeding Off Fear

In a 2020 document advocating for school reopenings, Harvard’s Healthy Buildings program director Joseph Allen remarked that there’s no such thing as lower risks in almost anything we undertake.

Keeping children out of school is costly, he continued. When discussing sending kids back to school, they must consider the personal and societal expenses of keeping them home.

Lockdown aficionados and teachers’ unions rejected his and similar suggestions as risky and even lethal. 

Many parents encouraged the closures, believing that in-person education would endanger everyone’s health. Consider: What inspired these parents?

State and municipal partisans, politicized public health organizations, and teachers’ unions gave them the idea.

They were injected with terror. In 2020, the DNC released ads saying President Trump was “risking educators’ and families’ lives” with his drive to reopen schools. 

The commercial stated Trump ignored experts’ guidance on how the illness spreads, asking whether we trust him to help our kids. 

Weingarten’s Absurd Statement

ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis noted this week that Trump’s early failings on the pandemic significantly influenced the protracted shutdown in blue states and cities. He added Democrats saw a tactical chance in school reopenings, but it was costly. 

How did Trump’s push to resume schools backfire? Some educators’ skepticism of the president and his objectives cemented their belief that teaching in person was risky, driving union opposition.

The AFT president reacted on Thursday to the learning loss data. 

She said after two years of interruption from an epidemic that killed one million Americans, schools are helping kids recover and prosper. This year is about repairing relationships and focusing on the basics, she said. 

How brazen! Weingarten acts as if the epidemic alone caused the learning loss as if the limits she and her supporters implemented played no effect. Shameless.

Her assertion is nearly as shameless as NPR’s recent claim that nuclear power resistance is declining worldwide and environmentalists led the push.

This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.