Experts fear “COVID-slide” in education

The first-grader was finally getting to grips with reading. He’d made “enormous progress,” said his special education teacher Jill Marangoni, who’d spent months working with him in New York. But then coronavirus closed the schools.

Seven weeks later, “he’s forgotten a lot of his sight words,” Marangoni told CNN. “He is already back to those very basic reading skills where he’s having to sound out every word. It’s disappointing to see because he will be moving onto second grade next year and he’s now going to be nearly two years behind.”

Marangoni usually has a caseload of 25 students, but with some of them unreachable at home she’s down to working with just 10 children now. And she’s seeing some others fall behind.

The big fear is that the annual “summer slide” could supercharge the loss of learning for students having a hard time keeping up with their education in the lockdowns. In interviews with CNN, experts said academic losses could be particularly problematic for grade school students who should be in the process of laying critical foundations of reading, writing, and math skills that should be built on for years to come -- potentially robbing a generation of students of vital stages of learning. “It’s kind of a double whammy of starting to forget and losing that kind of academic mindset of being out of school, and missing out on a couple of important months of instruction,” said Megan Kuhfeld, a research scientist at the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Collaborative for Student Growth Research Center.

(CNN)



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