Preliminary reports show 5,000 students in Alabama’s public school system aren’t showing up to class—whether virtual or in-person.
Some may have switched to private schools, but many are unaccounted for—and the schools don’t know where they are.
Public schools lost about 4,700 students in 2018, but Alabama’s Education Superintendent says this drop is more significant because it’s widespread across the state.
An expert in education policy says in Fairfax County, the largest school system in Virgina, F grades are up 83 percent over last year.
“Vulnerable students, disadvantaged children, we’re seeing huge increases among those students as well. Greenfield Country in South Carolina, the number of students receiving ‘F’s has more than doubled compared to this time last year. We can look to Dallas, Texas, where last year at this time, the number of students who were on grade level in math in 5th grade stood at around 54 percent and as dropped down to 24 percent,” said Lindsey Burke, Director at the Center for Education Policy at Heritage Foundation.
Burke says according to the McKinsey Institute, students will have lost between 3 months and 1 year of learning depending on the quality of their online instruction, and this impact compounds over the years.
Burke says teachers’ unions hold a lot of power and influence school closings.
In November, D.C. public schools planned to reopen, but changed course shortly after the Fairfax Education Association, which represents public school teachers in northern Virginia, said they don’t want to resume in-person instruction until at least fall 2021.
“So much of the unions’ effort to keep schools closed is not based in the science. It is based on politics more than anything else, and we can see that in places like Los Angeles where the Los Angeles teachers union has said they will not bless school reopening until things like defunding the police happen,” said Burke.
She said these school closings ironically have been encouraging school choice and freedom. Parents are pushed to explore options like home-school, private school, and even joining micro-schools and pandemic pods, where families “bubble” together to share curriculum and childcare.