The New York Times editorial board recently published an opinion piece expressing concerns about the long-term effects of school closures implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The board argued that these closures may go down in history as the most damaging disruption to American education.
The article emphasized the significant learning losses experienced by approximately 50 million students who were kept out of classrooms due to the virus.The editorial highlighted how these closures have particularly impacted low-income students, exacerbating the achievement gap between the rich and the poor.
The paper predicted that these learning losses would have lasting consequences, ultimately leading to reduced lifetime earnings for this generation. Economists support this claim, asserting that these students will become a drag on the economy.
The editorial criticized school administrators and politicians for not taking sufficient action to address this issue. It called for a multidisciplinary approach that prioritizes getting students back on track and securing federal aid to support their education. The article also raised concerns about the high rate of absenteeism among students, which further hampers their ability to catch up academically.
Additionally, it highlighted the worsening mental health difficulties among students, citing statistics from the CDC.
The New York Times, despite its current concerns, had previously advocated for school closures in 2020. It acknowledged the risks associated with these closures but argued that the benefits outweighed the harms at the time. The article from March 2020 suggested that with better testing and screening, it may have been possible to keep schools open while still protecting families.
There were also conflicting opinions within the Times regarding school closures. Some contributors pushed against closing schools, noting that infections were primarily occurring outside of the classroom during social gatherings and sports activities. Other media figures, such as MSNBC anchor Mehdi Hasan, continue to defend school closures and argue against claims of learning loss.
The editorial concluded by stressing the urgency of addressing the learning loss crisis. It called for a collective effort from all Americans to prevent the devastating effects it could have on the nation’s children.
In summary, the New York Times editorial board expressed concerns about the potential long-term consequences of school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article urged action to mitigate the damaging effects on students’ education and emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to address the issue.