The following is a speech given by Lance Izumi, senior director of the Center for
Education at the Pacific Research Institute, to The Parent Union on August 19, 2021.
There is so much going on in education, both in California and nationally, that I thought I would give an overview of some of the key issues facing us and what the future holds in store.
First of all, I think we should ask where are we right now? What exactly has happened to our children during the pandemic and the school closures?
Thankfully, we are starting to get some real data on the learning losses suffered by children.
For example, the prominent research firm McKinsey & Company released a study in July that not only showed huge learning losses among American children due to the pandemic, but also shocking estimates of the long-term economic impacts these learning losses would have on the United States. According to the McKinsey researchers, students, on average, fell behind five months in math and four months in reading by the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
More troubling, the researchers found that the pandemic had widened achievement gaps between student demographic groups.