Friday, July 30, 2021

The Teachers' Unions and Their Crimes against Children

Throughout America’s dark night of Covid school lockdowns, we have paid special attention to their impact on children. Many countries understood that children were not at risk for contracting the infection. They kept their schools open.

America-- or should we say blue America, the parts of the country that are run by Democrats, shut down their school systems. 

Whatever damage has been done to American children, the fault lies squarely with Democratic politicians and the teachers’ unions. Someone once suggested that the leaders of these unions should be jailed for child abuse. Clearly, that would be a step in the right direction.

Throughout the debate we have collected what evidence has been available in the media. It has been coming in, in bits and pieces. Now, however, we have received a comprehensive study, performed by consultants at McKinsey & Company. The conclusions are about as bad as we expected, and we report them because objective evidence is always better than speculation.

The Daily Mail offers a comprehensive summary. Dare we say, to the best we can ascertain, precious few other media outlets have reported it.

The results are grim. School shutdowns have hurt children. For a culture that is constantly obsessing over the horrors of child abuse, these data should have set off some serious alarms:

COVID-19 school shutdowns have left K-12 students five months behind in math and four months behind in reading by the end of academic year, damning research has revealed.

A new report from McKinsey & Company has shone a light on the toll pandemic-related school closures have taken on children across America as many spent the best part of a year with no in-person teaching. 

As we knew and expected, minority and disadvantaged children suffered the most:

Disadvantaged students faced the hardest setbacks, with children in the lowest household income groups finishing the year seven months behind in math and six months in reading.

The shutdowns also exacerbated opportunity gaps among ethnic and racial minorities with students in predominantly black and Hispanic schools falling six months behind in math compared to students in majority white schools falling four months behind.  

In reading, the gap by racial group was greater with majority black schools falling six months, Hispanic five months and white three months from where students would be expected to be in a pre-pandemic world.

And of course, the fault lies with the teachers’ unions.

School shutdowns and reopening plans have been a source of tension for months as parents and lawmakers pushed for a return to classroom learning, while many teachers and teachers' unions tried to halt in-person comebacks. 

Some parents were essential workers. They could not supervise their children’s remote learning. Some parents had jobs. They could only offer part time supervision of their children’s Zoom lessons:

Parents argued that both the grades and mental health of their children suffered from at-home learning, as students had to contend with virtual lessons over Zoom or working alone for hours on end. 

Meanwhile, parents also felt the toll with white collar workers speaking of their own struggles trying to help with their children's education while juggling their own shift to working from home.

For parents deemed essential workers during the pandemic, many were forced to leave their children at home to do their schoolwork alone as they headed out to work. 

But teachers' unions delayed welcoming kids back to classrooms, arguing staff members would be at risk of contracting COVID-19 through in-person learning. 

Yes, indeed. Measure the last paragraph. The teachers’ unions were on a crusade to hurt children and to damage their parents' career prospects.

Eventually, more children did gain access to remote learning. But, ominously, the McKinsey report tells us that the damage had already been done-- keep in mind, we are talking about children’s minds, and, by extension, their mental health:

At the start of the 2020–21 school year in the fall, only around 40 percent of K–12 students had access to any in-person learning.  

By the end of the school year, 98 percent of students had access to at least some in-person teaching.

However, McKinsey's research shows the damage to students' learning had already been done.

The research compared Curriculum Associates' i-Ready in-school assessment results of more than 1.6 million elementary school students across more than 40 states in the spring of 2021 and prior to the pandemic.

It found that students this year were around ten points behind in math and nine points behind in reading, compared to where similar students were in previous years.

This equates to students being around five months behind in math and four months behind in reading to where they should be.

Students learned almost no new math content over the last few months of the 2019-2020 school year, the report found, as the pandemic shuttered schools entirely before preparations were put in place for remote learning.  

The research shows that schools managed to claw back some of the lost learning over the following school year as remote and hybrid learning was rolled out, resulting in five months of unfinished learning overall.

The trend for reading was different, with the initial shutdowns impacting abilities far less and learning falling just one month behind between March and September 2020.

It was worse for minority schools. 

This trend for a sharper shock to overall learning at the start of the pandemic was amplified among students in majority black schools.

Between March and September 2020, students in these schools fell three months behind, before closing out the 2020-2021 school year six months behind overall.  

Children in rural districts did better than their counterparts in urban and suburban schools:

Students in rural areas were less badly impacted by shutdowns falling three months behind in both math and reading.

This compared to students in city and suburban schools who fell five months behind in math and four months in reading. 

As we have noted, the shutdowns have also severely impacted children’s mental health:

Aside from academic prowess, McKinsey's report found that pandemic-related shutdowns have had other negative impacts on US students. 

Its survey of 16,370 parents across every state in America found that more than 35 percent of parents were very or extremely concerned about their children's mental health. 

Overall, 80 percent of parents said they had at least some level of concern about their child's mental, or social and emotional health and development since the start of the pandemic.  

Separate research has also shown that the mental health of students suffered from at-home learning, particularly among already vulnerable children. 


An October article by the American Psychological Association cited concerns about 'how kids will cope psychologically with the ongoing loss of access to the friends, teachers, and routines associated with going to a physical campus'.  

Howard University professor and psychologist Celeste Malone warned that children of color and less well-off backgrounds were at the greatest risk of facing mental health challenges by missing out on classroom learning. 

It was not just about the learning. It was the socialization, the interactions with other children, the chances to play school sports and to participate in school clubs.

And then there is the question of the long term damage inflicted by the teachers’ unions:

McKinsey's report also found that shutdowns could have a long-term economic impact on the students impacted and the wider national economy. 

More students are dropping out of school altogether with a 4.6 percentage point increase in chronic absenteeism, it shows. 


The knock-on effects of lower grades and higher dropouts could leave students earning $49,000 to $61,000 less over their lifetime.

The impact is worse among black and Hispanic children who could see their lifetime earnings plunge 2.4 percent and 2.1 percent respectively, compared to 1.4 percent for white children. 

Dare we say that this will damage the American economy:

Nationwide, this could cost the US economy up to $188 billion every year, the report found.

The next time you start thinking about how we are going to compete with the rest of the world economically, keep in mind that America’s future has been seriously damaged, if not sabotaged, by the teachers’ unions and their Democratic Party satraps-- to say nothing of their enablers in the media.

If this is not a crime against children, the words do not mean anything any more.


Sam L. said...

The Chinese are smiling...

Sam L. said...

Teachers Unions should/MUST BE defenestrated (thrown out a window) (yes, I did look up that word), with spikes and broken glass underneath (to encourage the others). Why yes, I am in a bad mood on this topic.

Eric said...

The left only cares about child abuse insofar as it can be used to further their goals. If their goals cause child abuse, well, so much for the child.