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July 14, 2024
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NYT Shock: GOP’s Pandemic Schooling Proven Right!

In a rare moment of acknowledgment, The New York Times published an analysis this week that echoed a fundamental point often championed by conservatives: the adverse effects of prolonged school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on children’s education. The report sheds light on a growing consensus among public health and education experts that extended closures did little to effectively curb the virus’s spread while causing significant and lasting academic harm to students.

The analysis brings into focus the detrimental impact of remote learning on children’s educational attainment, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds. Drawing upon research from esteemed institutions like Harvard and Stanford, alongside a comprehensive study encompassing 10,000 schools, the report unveils a compelling correlation between remote learning and declines in students’ test scores at both state and local levels.

Despite attempts by Democrats to justify their approach to education during the pandemic as prioritizing safety, experts cited in the report suggest that school closures yielded minimal benefits in terms of virus containment. The Times’ analysis underscores the complexity of the decisions faced by policymakers, recognizing the absence of straightforward solutions amidst the uncertainty and evolving nature of the crisis.

Moreover, the report underscores the enduring consequences of pandemic-induced learning disruptions, as evidenced by the most recent test scores from spring 2023. These scores indicate that students, as a whole, have yet to fully recover from the academic setbacks experienced during the height of the pandemic, with those in districts maintaining remote or hybrid learning models facing notably larger academic disparities compared to their peers in districts prioritizing in-person instruction.

Amidst this landscape, Republican leaders like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis emerged as vocal proponents for reopening schools and restoring normalcy to students’ lives. DeSantis’s proactive measures to reopen schools in Florida in the spring of 2020 positioned him at the forefront of efforts to challenge what many conservatives perceived as excessive and unwarranted restrictions hindering children’s access to quality education.

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