Apr 23, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus causes kids to lose ground in school

Illustration of a line of spaced out desks receding far into the background

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A likely coronavirus scenario: More inequality among schoolkids, made worse the longer they're not in classrooms.

Why it matters: Summer breaks already require some kids to do more catchup than others, and many students won't return to schools until the fall — at the earliest.

The big picture: 39 states plus D.C. and 3 U.S. territories have closed schools for the school year, with others facing deadlines soon on whether to reopen on May 1 or later, Education Week reports.

"What used to be a three-month summer learning loss, which was always an issue, is now going to be a five- or six-month summer learning loss," Khan Academy CEO Sal Khan said at an Axios event today.

  • "Based on the historical data, it looks like kids will not only not learn for those six months, but they’ll be forgetting for those six months — so they’ll probably lose an entire year," he told Axios' Kim Hart.

Between the lines: History and geography scores among 8th graders have declined since 2014, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced today.

  • Lower-performing students lost more ground than middle- and higher-performing students, mirroring a pattern seen in recent reading and math scores, the AP reports.

The bottom line: Every parent wants the best for their kids, but this period — when parents with fewer resources are left to fend for themselves — will result in more kids left behind.

Go deeper: Education experts bracing for a year of learning loss from coronavirus

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