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Parents across the United States anticipated that going into 2021 — on the heels of an approved vaccine, dropping rates in COVID-related deaths and data released on the damages caused by national lockdowns — that fully reopened schools would be the norm again.
As we now look at the eight months that have passed, seventeen since the first national COVID shutdown, teachers unions and Democratic politicians are still pushing back against efforts to return to normal, even though, as reported by OutKick’s Joe Kinsey, members of the CDC reported “little evidence of meaningful COVID spread from schools, according to data from K-12 schools that opened in the fall.”
Data released by the New York Times, in collaboration with Stanford University, reveals alarming statistics regarding young children who have dropped out or never re-enrolled in school — a byproduct of the shift to remote learning due to COVID restrictions.
The kindergarten system took the biggest hit, leaving thousands upon thousands of 5- and 6-year-olds, specifically in low-income communities, a year behind in development — with no certainty that they’ll return to in-person attendance, the only method of schooling that works, anytime soon.
Professor Thomas S. Dee of the Stanford Graduate School of Education, who contributed to the report, says that 340,000 kindergarten-level children did not enroll for fall 2020 after COVID restrictions severely limited in-person attendance, a decline of 20% nationwide.
“We have to be deeply concerned,” commented the professor.
Hundreds of thousands of potential kindergarteners are only a slice of a larger pie. Nearly a million total students did not re-enroll in K-12 grades in 2020. This doesn’t mean they didn’t show up for Zoom classes or made an appearance and then walked away from the screen. They were no longer enrolled in school at all. This drop in enrollment affected nearly two-third of all public schools in America, according to the report.
The report also focuses on urban schools — a segment of school districts that welcome the “most low-income students of color.”
The report tracks the story of a young student in Philadelphia, who forewent in-person learning. His parents — addressed as a low-income, minority couple — struggled to find an alternative to help their son make up for his lost development of 2020. He was not even able to spell his name at the age of 6.
Their concern over access to a reliable in-person classroom exemplifies the struggle faced by minority groups nationwide, at the behest of Democratic leaders who still vouch for remote learning and who are willing to hinder the next generation, supposedly in the name of public safety.
The 51% drop in kindergarten enrollment found in these areas is alarming. As the report states, some parents experienced difficulties using technology to enroll their kindergarteners online. Other parents simply left their kids at home, without an education, because they couldn’t or didn’t want to help them adjust to remote learning.
The media continues to criticize Republican lawmakers who have demanded that schools reopen, to both free up parents to return to work and to slow the long-term effects of ousting children from schools. Democrats and teachers unions, however, overlook the damning data — available from a simple Google search — and still insist on remote learning for the foreseeable future.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela