Serving Franklin County, WA

Address COVID learning loss

As parents know all too well, many students suffered learning loss when schools were shut down or relied on virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This “COVID learning loss” has resulted in lower test scores from Washington students in recent years. Unfortunately, not every possible solution has been deployed to address this problem.

One of my Republican colleagues, 8th District Sen. Matt Boehnke, wrote a guest column on COVID learning loss. It mentioned a recent analysis by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

According to the report:

“WSIPP analyzed how student math and English language arts achievement changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and found average math and ELA test scores were lower in 2022 than average scores before the pandemic. Math scores plummeted even more.

The most shocking decline occurred in middle-school grades and among female students, students of color and low-income students.

This level of learning loss is projected to equal a $32,000 decrease in future earnings per student – an even more significant blow to those who can least afford another obstacle to success.”

As Sen. Boehnke’s column noted, Senate Republicans during the 2023 legislative session “pushed to devote state and federal funds to address learning loss through intense, focused tutoring and rigorous extended-learning programs.

“We advocated for creating Student Academic Achievement Grants to target learning loss, with funds for tutoring and comprehensive learning programs. We also suggested extending the school year by five days to provide additional in-class instructional time.”

Unfortunately, majority Democrats in the Senate rejected legislation to implement these ideas.

— Sen. Mark Schoesler represents the 9th Legislative District,

including eastern Adams

County. Email him at [email protected].


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