Due to COVID 19 nearly 1.7 million Ohio school children are experiencing some form of distance learning at least until next school year.
According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, learning can become even more difficult for disadvantaged children. The Ohio Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union said they supported Governor DeWine’s decision to close school building for the rest of the academic year but pointed out there will be challenges. “We’ll need time to assess the needs of all students — including students with special developmental needs; students with health challenges; and students whose circumstances deprive them of access to technology, adequate nutrition, or other essential supports — and work together to support them in the best way possible,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said.
Ohio Statehouse News asked Representative Don Jones, (R-Freeport) Chairman of the Primary and Secondary Education Committee about education challenges due to COVID 19, “Learning has not been ideal for a lot of kids due to lack of internet connectivity and time being away from school. The House will be getting back to work next week and these are the conversation that we are going to have.”
During a traditional school year educators and parents worry about summer slide. A blog posted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital states, “On average, kids lose a month or more of learning during the summer. The effect is cumulative, and worse for low-income families. By the time ninth grade rolls around, kids from low-income families can be two years behind and this can impact whether they earn a high school diploma or go to college.”
With students being removed from their traditional education environment in mid-March what will be the impact of COVID 19 slide?
An article in Education Week titled, Academically Speaking, the ‘COVID Slide’ Could Be a Lot Worse Than You Think provides insight.
A Study from Northwest Evaluation Association found:
Research on summer learning loss has found students can lose somewhere from two weeks to two months of academic growth over the summer. But NWEA’s projections suggest learning loss related to these closures would be anything but typical: If students return to school campuses in the fall without continuity of instruction during the closures, they could have retained only about 70 percent of their reading progress, compared to a normal year.
And math looks worse: Depending on the grade, students were projected to lose anywhere from half to all of their academic growth from the last year, compared to normal student growth.
“I think for some kids, this is going to be really traumatic. So, when we start to think about homelessness and food insecurity and all these other traumas, the variation in that slope is going to be, I think, potentially a more dramatic downfall.” said Tarasawa, the executive vice president for research at NWEA. “This isn’t meant to be doomsday; it’s meant to get people to think about the reality of what teachers are going to be facing at restart” of instruction.”
No doubt Ohio’s education system will need to address significant learning challenges when school restarts in the fall.
Representative Jones applauds the excellent work of educators. “Our schools have stepped up and done what was needed to ensure students continued to have access to healthy meals and education services. Most districts and schools have plans in place.” Jones concludes, “Programming will be important next year and a lot of it will depend on the direction the legislature receives from the Governor and his staff with regards to social distancing or distance learning. The legislature will work to ensure programming is available for all students.”