Teachers and parents look for increased funding in wake of low test scores
Educators and parents across the Hudson Valley are calling on schools to use funding from the COVID-19 relief package passed in 2021 after new evidence shows how devastating the pandemic was on education.
The results of the first major student tests show new evidence of just how devastating COVID-19 was on education.
It's hard to know the exact impact district-by-district, but it's clear standardized test scores plunged as the pandemic erased decades of progress in the classroom.
It's no secret the pandemic wrecked students' learning, but new data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows just how badly. From 2019 to 2022, math and reading scores dropped for fourth and eighth graders in New York.
Reading scores also went down for fourth graders while eighth graders showed no progress.
"I know everybody was supposed to be on the computer but if you're home, and you're on the computer, and you're at your house, you're going to wander off and do things otherwise, so I'm not surprised," says Lawren Jackson, parent of a Yonkers middle school student.
The results might not shock parents, but educators find the lower-than-expected numbers alarming.
Local districts have been preparing for this by increasing after-school and enrichment programs, as well as using localized assessments to better identify students' needs.
"What's most important is looking at the local data that tells us how individual students are doing," says Dr. Eric Byrne, president of the Lower Hudson Council on School Superintendents.
However, Byrne warns against putting too much stock into national reports like this one.
Looking forward, many educators hope to use this new data, along with their research, to address areas to invest in and accelerate academic recovery.
The results also exposed how racial and fiscal inequities obstructed students' learning during the pandemic.
Students of color or those without access to broadband, a quiet place to learn or teacher support were more likely to fall behind.
Chasity Jackson is a fifth grader at School 22 in Yonkers. When asked how she did with school during the pandemic, her answer is one that is common amongst students. "I really didn't pay attention on the screen and stuff, I just didn't understand it."
Chasity's grandmother isn't surprised by the numbers. "During the pandemic, everything happened, kids were out of school, they weren't learning, and now this is where they are," says Sandra Michaels.
Chasity says while she does well in reading, she needs to work on her math skills. "I get packets to write the times tables, keep writing them out and writing it out until I remember."
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