McKinsey: The pandemic’s learning loss…

A 1/2 year of learning lost, but majority of parents are unconcerned (or oblivious)

McKinsey recently published an analysis of the the impact of the pandemic on students’ academic progress.

COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning


The Reality

Citing standardized testing results by Curriculum Associates, the McKinsey researchers conclude:

> More first and second graders have ended this year two or more grade levels below expectations than in any previous year.

> On average, K–12 students are now 5 months behind in mathematics and 4 months behind in reading heading into this school year.

> The learning loss is most severe for students attending majority black schools


Those results are in line with prior studies and projections re: learning loss, so they didn’t surprise me.

But here’s something that did…


Shades of Alfred E. Newman

Alfred E. Newman was the lead character in the Mad Magazine (pop in the 60s and 70s).

His blasé, often oblivious mantra was “What, me worry?”

Apparently, a majority of parents are adopting a 2021 variant of the Newman philosophy.

Based on a large scale survey of parents, McKinsey researchers conclude that “parents underestimate the learning gap caused by the pandemic.”

Specifically, across all races, more than half of parents think their child is doing just fine.

> 40% said their child is on track academically despite the pandemic

>16% percent said their child is progressing faster than in a usual year

> Only 14 percent of parents said their child has fallen significantly behind.

Black parents are slightly more likely than white parents to think their child is on track or better.


Perceptions vs. Reality

I’ve been wondering why there has been so little attention being given to the learning gap that students have incurred during the pandemic.

I chalked it up to the dirth of union-resisted standardized testing … and,  the media-fueled obsession with CLT, equity math and transgender accommodations.

I missed the obvious: A majority of parents are either oblivious  … or worse, just don’t care if we’ve fallen behind 27 other countries in academic achievement.

My hunch: Even Alfred E. Newman would fret over that.

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