There have been times in the past when schools have been closed (Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005), albeit not on such a permanent basis as during this pandemic. This article in the New York Times outlines the radical approach taken at the time by the local authorities. This entailed “reset (of) what had been seen as a perpetually failing school system”. The learning loss, based on multiple studies carried out in Europe and the US, shows that students are two or more grade levels below where they were before the pandemic, especially in elementary school, where learning basic skills is so important. To add to this dire situation many teachers are planning to leave the profession earlier than planned: in the US alone this is almost one third. The conclusion from Katrina, that is applicable the world over today (though difficult to accomplish), is that “there should be a greater investment in finding tutoring and small classroom opportunities for students; more teachers who can individually assess and help students will likely curtail learning loss”. Let us hope that some of this can be achieved.

#lostlearning #education