After the Nation’s Report Card came out, a post-pandemic glance in the hindsight mirror had folks pointing to school lockdowns to blame Susie and Johnny’s epic fail at most of their eighth-grade studies: specifically, math, science, and reading. Apoplectic parents and politicians have struggled to deflect the failure, but those darn private Catholic school students blazed right past the kids in the public education system to defy the point-and-blame gamers. Well — Jesus, Mary, and Joseph — what gives?
There must be some horrid mistake or miscalculation in tabulating the results, right? Unionized teachers and school districts know what’s best. We needed a year off to avoid the big nasty bug, for Christ’s sake!
Why have those parochial school kids scored so high?
The Blues in Education
Liberty Nation has followed the plight of public education for years and, when the latest Nation’s Report Card came out, described a brief, yet alarming, overview of results: Only “13% of eighth graders are proficient in US history, and only 22% are proficient in civics.”
Politicians in blue states and cities closed their schools in fear of the terrorist tactics of the education unions for an entire year. Those mandates were extended under the direction of Randi Weingarten, the head honcho of the influential American Federation of Teachers (AFT), who belatedly admitted there were “of course” learning losses during the pandemic. But the uniformed kids, under the watchful eye of the Pope and Co., did not suffer the same fate.
What studies have shown, to make a simple comparison, is that If Catholic schools were a state, they’d be the highest-performing in the nation and the most cost-effective — they can do math, apparently. Enrollment is up 3.09% and holding steady. Public schools went the opposite direction, and students registering for classes are down 2.09% below pre-pandemic levels.
Los Angeles, run by the uber woke, saw a 5.9% decline. So did New York, Chicago, Houston, and Orange County, all among the leaders in losing. All these liberal-run municipalities blamed COVID as the reason behind the historic losses.
For comparison, according to the CATO Institute, “During the 2020-2021 school year, 35% of private schools reported an increase in enrollment. Comparatively, 26.5% reported a decrease, and 38.2% reported no change.”
We’ll let John Galvan, director of assessments, National Catholic Education Association, explain:
In fall 2020, fewer than one-fourth of students nationwide were back in classrooms five days a week; 57 percent were learning remotely full-time. In December 2020, the New York Times suggested that as many as six percent of public school students nationwide were not attending school at all. By contrast, fully 92 percent of Catholic schools were open for full-time in-person instruction or ‘hybrid’ learning at the start of 2021.”
“Parents want greater personalization, and it seems like a trend that’s here to stay,” Romy Drucker, the K-12 education director at the Walton Family Foundation, told Axios post-pandemic as enrollment numbers were down and stagnant. “Schools will have to earn back the trust of parents.”
Trust Us — We Know What We’re Doing
Students today are far behind their contemporaries of just a decade ago. The geniuses in the field of K-12 education in Louisiana believe they have an answer for parents: Just graduate the kids anyway and see what happens. The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education plans a waiver-fallback for high school graduation requirements. Students who cannot pass get a project or portfolio to complete, and teachers will judge whether to give the poor performing pupil that sheepskin.
Of course, teachers will be inclined to pass. The better the graduation rates, the more funding in the coffers. Brigitte Nieland, government affairs director for Stand for Children Louisiana, expressed her concerns with The Center Square: “The portfolios are going to be judged by the teachers, who will be pressured to have more graduates. There are so many issues at play that have nothing to do with education of students.”
The state of Oregon threw out the requirement for students to pass a basic math, reading, and writing test to graduate post-pandemic. Then-Gov. Kate Brown said in 2021, “Oregon’s Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color” would benefit the most. How, by being thrown into the world without being able to read, write, or balance a checkbook?
The United States is at a critical time in history, when students need more learning and skills development. Twenty-five nations are ahead in K-12 education: China, Hong Kong, Finland, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Canada lead the way. Alarmingly, the United States is below Slovakia in math scores, Lithuania in science, and Slovenia in reading. What happened to undo decades of US educational achievements? It might be time for a rap on the knuckles from the nuns.
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