As the latest rise in coronavirus cases moves across the country, and school districts are calling for a return to total virtual classrooms, school system are more and more reporting that online learning isn’t cutting it, and we are seeing failure rates skyrocket across the country.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, a newly released report from the Office of Research and Strategic Improvement found that the share of failing grades to date were up more than 80% in comparison with last year’s rates leaping 6 percent to 11 percent.
In the Los Angeles Unified School District, grades ranging from Ds to Fs among middle and high school students have jumped up as school attendance has gone down. Bay Area school districts reported a 50% spike in failing grades when compared to the numbers from the last few years.
In Austin, Texas, nearly one-quarter of all middle school students in the Austin Independent School District were failing at least one class, a 70% increase compared to last year. Sixty-two percent of students who go through online classrooms in Van Alstyne ISD were failing at least one class. In Pottsboro ISD right next door, virtual classroom students were more than 5 times as likely to be failing a grade than students who attended in-person classes.
Outside of the teacher’s unions, did anyone not see this coming? Ignoring the psychologist’s warnings of detrimental effects of lockdowns and virtual classrooms on our nation’s children, the Left in this country have robbed our school kids of an education. My own son, who has been an honor student for so long I can’t remember, is in trouble with his grades, and he told me it’s because of online learning. He explained one of the problems to me that I can fully relate, such as just when he is getting a concept the teacher is trying to get across to the class, a technical glitch will occur and the screen will go blank. Everyone then has to wait for the video feed to pop up again. Even if they only have to wait five seconds, that time kills a train of thought, and it’s difficult to get it back. That’s not the student’s fault, and yet they will be the ones held responsible when it comes to grading time.
The damage of virtual learning overall is not indiscriminate, the problems with it have been tougher on underserved communities. Lower-income households without the means to offer additional extracurricular assistance, students with disabilities, and students whose first language isn’t English all fell right into a widening education gap that was largely predicted by educational researchers. Yet, the unions and school boards didn’t care enough to listen. They had a mission to accomplish, and that was get rid of Trump by making life so miserable for everyone by using the Chinese virus pandemic, and for teachers to demand raises for not really teaching. Let’s face it, virtual learning is nowhere near the real McCoy.
They knew this before China unleashed a plague on the world. A report from George Mason University that came out in January of 21019 discovered that “fully online coursework has contributed to increasing gaps in educational success across socioeconomic groups while failing to improve affordability.”
“Students with weak academic preparation and those from low-income and under-represented backgrounds consistently underperform in fully-online environments,” the report says. “A strong body of evidence, as well as industry best practices, have consistently emphasized the critical role of frequent and meaningful interaction between students and instructors for increasing the quality of the online educational experience and improving student outcomes and satisfaction.”
In Fairfax County, “the pattern was pervasive across all student groups, grade levels, and content areas,” but in the underserved communities they once again were still hit harder, as rates of failure among students with disabilities and students where English is their second language were up more than 100%, about 20 points higher than the statistical average.
Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand said the school system was “working on identifying by name and by need and are working on specific interventions to support them right now,” according to the Washington Post. Was it just platitudes or do they suddenly really care? I sound bitter, because these professionals all knew the chance of children under 17 of catching the virus are next to naught, and for the rest of us, save the elderly, there is a 99 percent survival rate, yet they went ahead and ruined the school year for everyone anyway.
Let’s hope that some sanity comes back to our public schools and the school districts along with the teacher’s unions begin to care more about the education of our children than the employment of adults. We didn’t really even get into the psychological damage lockdowns and virtual learning are causing students across the country. I for one consider it abuse, but then again, I’m biased.