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How the COVID lockdowns actually HELPED the poor.

Oh. I think I got that wrong. Ironic that the Dems, who represent the downtrodden in our society (god bless them BTW), inadvertently completely f-cked them over. Oh well.

The High Price of Covid Learning Loss

It equates to a drop in lifetime earnings of about $900 billion.

By The Editorial Board, WSJ

Nov. 18, 2022 6:09 pm ET

The full cost of the Covid-19 school shutdowns will take years to understand, but here’s another estimate that will make many parents livid: If the recent learning loss can’t be reversed, it would equate to a 1.6% drop in lifetime earnings for the average K-12 student, or a nationwide total of some $900 billion.

That’s according to a recent studyfrom researchers at Harvard and Dartmouth, which is based on census data and historical changes in performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the nation’s report card. The researchers sought to predict how this year’s deplorable test results could affect students over their lifetimes if they can’t catch up.

The most recent NAEP results showed a record drop in learning. Not a single state or large school district managed to improve math performance among fourth and eighth graders between 2019 and 2022. “A 1.6 percent decline in earnings may seem like a modest impact per student, but it adds up,” the researchers write. It’s an average loss, in present value, of $19,400 per student. Then multiply by the public K-12 enrollment of 48 million.

Harvard economist Thomas Kane used the same method to forecast other outcomes if eighth-grade students fail to recover from this year’s abysmal math scores. For this cohort, he anticipates college enrollment would fall 2.4%. Meantime, the number of high school dropouts would increase 3.6%, of teen mothers by 3.2%, of the unemployed by 6.6%, and of young men incarcerated by 14.2%.

These costs wouldn’t be borne evenly across society. Researchers at Harvard and Stanford used the latest NAEP results to put in context state standardized test scores and compare the achievement drop in different school districts nationwide. The results showed some correlation between learning loss and the length of school shutdowns. Much more conclusive, though, was the evidence that poor children disproportionately suffered from pandemic-era disruptions.

In districts where 69% or more of students received lunch subsidies, children lost the equivalent of two-thirds of a year of math between 2019 and 2022. To compare, in districts where only 39% or fewer got free or reduced lunch, students fell less than half a year behind.

The disparities in some places were stark. In North Branford, Conn., where only 21.8% are low-income, students fell a tenth of a year behind in math. Less than 12 miles away in New Haven, where 72.9% receive subsidized lunch, students fell 1.55 years behind.

The personal-finance website WalletHubreports that Falls Church City Public Schools is the second-most affluent district in Virginia, with an average household income of nearly $147,000. There students fell less than 0.3 of a grade level behind in math, according to the Harvard-Stanford data. Compare that to Richmond City Public Schools, where 93% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and where children fell 1.96 grade levels behind.

In Massachusetts, students lost slightly over a grade level in Holyoke and 1.3 grade levels in Lynn, two districts where more than 80% of students qualify for subsidized lunch. Fewer than 10% do in Andover and Wellesley, where students fell a little more than a third of a grade level behind.

Throughout the pandemic, affluent parents could afford to hire tutors or yank their kids from failing public schools. Poor children too often remained trapped, and it’s a tragedy that will reverberate for years to come.

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