Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The Cost of School Closings

I am not sure why the Wall Street Journal needed to go to Latin America to find the story, but, you never know. Isn’t the same thing happening in America, in school districts that have been closed by Democratic politicians and teachers’ unions, where poor children do not have access to the internet or to remote learning?

The short observation is quite simple: closing schools, for no good reason, harms children, especially poor children. The risk of viral contagion is miniscule, but the teachers unions have ordered the schools to shut down.

No one in America seems much to care about it. They are papering over the problem by working to dumb down America’s smartest children by feeding them a steady diet of critical race theory.

Anyway, here is the news from Latin America:

… children on average have missed more school days during the pandemic than anywhere else in the world, according to Unicef. More than half of the region’s 190 million school-age children remain out of the classroom, many with no viable options for remote learning.

We like the touch about anywhere else in the world, but what would happen to the statistics about America if we looked at our great blue cities?

As for the consequences, not just for Latin American children, but for poor American children, we have some indications, from the World Bank:

The World Bank estimates that some 15%, or 28 million school-age children, will drop out altogether—troubling for a region where students had already lagged behind other parts of the world in math and reading comprehension. Education advocates and economists warn of an unprecedented blow to Latin America’s social and economic development in years to come, likely spurring poverty, violence and migration

Poverty and violence-- sounds like American cities. As for migration, how many of these children will be taking advantage of the Biden open-borders policy?

When it comes to remote learning, how good is it really? A study from Brazil suggests that children learn around 25% less when they are doing Zoom classes:

Though it will take time to fully measure the impact, researchers at the University of Zurich compared standardized test scores before and during the pandemic of students in Brazil’s biggest city, São Paulo, and found that remote students learned only 27.5% of the material their in-person peers had learned the previous year.

As for teachers’ unions, they are taking their cues from the United States. Here is the story about Colombia:

Making matters worse, a political battle between the Education Ministry and the country’s main teachers union has, in part, led to weeks of antigovernment demonstrations, which have further delayed school openings. 

The Education Ministry recently issued a resolution ordering public-school teachers to restart in-person classes by mid-July. But while all 300,000 of the teachers have received at least one vaccine dose, the union refuses to send them back into schools, citing record numbers of Covid-19 infections in a third wave hitting the country, while demanding myriad improvements to schools.

“No one wants to see kids return to classrooms more than us,” said Luis Salazar, the union’s secretary-general. “But the government is putting education ahead of personal health.”

Since there is no real health risk for school children, you can easily agree that the country ought to be jailing the leaders of the teachers’ unions. Shouldn't America start setting an example?

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