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America’s Report Card just came out. We’re failing.
Except, students aren’t to blame, but self-serving bureaucrats, union officials, and Democrat politicians who knew better.
The 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress recently found that schools nationwide recorded the steepest drop in math scores ever recorded in a single year. The same report found that nearly three decades of progress in reading proficiency has been lost.
Fourth graders recorded the lowest average score collectively in reading. Average math scores for eighth graders have dropped a whole eight points since 2019. Nearly four in ten eighth graders now test below basic achievement levels in math.
This data is very significant because fourth graders need to read proficiently to learn other subjects, while proficiency in math in the eighth grade is a key indicator of success in high school.
In short, youth in America are, quite literally, being set up for failure.
We know how we got here: Students in public K-12 schools in the United States have had to learn remotely in some form or another for nearly three years.
Forcing kids to sit at home in front of a computer screen has been disastrous because kids and teens require the ability to watch, listen, explore, experiment and ask questions in order to learn. This requires their physical presence in classroom with a teacher, surrounded by peers.
For those of us who were sounding the alarm from the beginning about remote learning, these results, while not surprising, are no less alarming.
The CDC, long an avid proponent of forcing insane COVID-19 restrictions and mandates on Americans even when they’d been proven ineffective, to their credit admitted last spring “[virtual learning] might present more risks than in-person instruction related to child and parental mental and emotional health and some health-supporting behaviors.”
Yet some continued to lobby for the continuation of remote learning even when its failure was clear.
Powerful teachers’ unions like the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) continued lobbying the Biden administration and Democrats to keep remote learning in place. In blue cities like Chicago, New York and Milwaukee for example, union efforts to keep remote learning in place were particularly forceful. We now know that Black and Hispanic students saw even larger test score drops than White students over the last three years.
How many students in those schools were barred from learning in classrooms, and as a result suffered learning loss from which they may never recover?
Despite this gross malfeasance, not a single bureaucrat, union official nor Democrat politician has resigned or been fired over their role in harming the American public education system. And don’t be fooled–if given the chance, they’ll impose “much, much more stringent” restrictions if given the chance.
That’s why it’s up to Republicans in Congress to hold these people accountable and make sure that what happened to kids and teens in America over the last three years never happens again.
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That’s why I released a “Family Policy Agenda” earlier this summer which says that parents, not self-serving public officials, are the primary stakeholders in their children’s education. And it’s why Scott Fitzgerald and I introduced legislation to repeal the federal charter Congress granted to the National Education Association.
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Republicans on the House Education and Labor Committee, which I sit on, sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in August demanding to know the role that teachers unions had in swaying the Biden administration to keep schools closed.
These initiatives are a good start and there’s much more to come. With a new majority in Congress come January 2023, I can assure those families whose children have been neglected by the education system will have a voice in Congress which seeks answers and a way forward to restoring the quality of education that children in the United States deserve.
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