Democrats Failed Students, ‘Devastating’ New Test Results Show

Democrats At All Levels Of Government Refused To Quickly Reopen Schools That Were Shut At The Beginning Of The Pandemic, Siding With Teachers’ Unions Over Students, And This Year Studies And Test Results Show This Was A Disaster For America’s Children


Nationwide Test Scores Show ‘Historic Learning Setbacks For America’s Children’ Over The Course Of The Pandemic

“The COVID-19 pandemic spared no state or region as it caused historic learning setbacks for America’s children, erasing decades of academic progress and widening racial disparities, according to results of a national test that provide the sharpest look yet at the scale of the crisis.” (“Test Scores Show Historic COVID Setbacks For Kids Across US,” The Associated Press, 10/24/2022)

The Tests Revealed ‘The Largest Drop In Math Scores Ever’ Combined With ‘A Nationwide Plunge In Reading That Wiped Out Three Decades Of Gains’

“The nation’s schools recorded the largest drop in math scores ever this year, with fourth- and eighth-grade students in nearly every state showing significant declines … [and] … a nationwide plunge in reading that wiped out three decades of gains…. The data comes after federal test results released in September revealed the largest drop in fourth-grade reading scores since 1990 and the first-ever decline in math.” (“Math Scores Dropped in Every State During Pandemic, Report Card Shows,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/24/2022)

  • “In the test’s first results since the pandemic began, math scores for eighth graders fell in nearly every state. A meager 26 percent of eighth graders were proficient, down from 34 percent in 2019. Fourth graders fared only slightly better, with declines in 41 states. Just 36 percent of fourth graders were proficient in math, down from 41 percent. Reading scores also declined in more than half the states, continuing a downward trend that had begun even before the pandemic. No state showed sizable improvement in reading. And only about one in three students met proficiency standards, a designation that means students have demonstrated competency and are on track for future success.” (“Math Scores Fell in Nearly Every State, and Reading Dipped on National Exam,” The New York Times, 10/24/2022)

Students Struggling Academically And Minority Students Were Hurt The Most

“Most concerning, however, are the gaps between students. Confirming what many had feared, racial inequities appear to have widened during the pandemic. In fourth grade, Black and Hispanic students saw bigger decreases than white students, widening gaps that have persisted for decades.” (“Test Scores Show Historic COVID Setbacks For Kids Across US,” The Associated Press, 10/24/2022)

“Inequities were also reflected in a growing gap between higher and lower performing students. In math and reading, scores fell most sharply among the lowest performing students, creating a widening chasm between struggling students and the rest of their peers. Surveys done as part of this year’s test illustrate the divide.” (“Test Scores Show Historic COVID Setbacks For Kids Across US,” The Associated Press, 10/24/2022)


The New Test Results Reinforce Studies From Earlier This Year Showing How Disastrous Keeping Schools Closed Was For Students

‘Remote Learning Was A Failure’: ‘Students Who Stayed Home For Most Of 2020-21 Fared Much Worse’

“When Covid-19 began to sweep across the country in March 2020, schools in every state closed their doors. Remote instruction effectively became a national policy for the rest of that spring. A few months later, however, school districts began to make different decisions about whether to reopen. Across much of the South and the Great Plains as well as some pockets of the Northeast, schools resumed in-person classes in the fall of 2020. Across much of the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast, school buildings stayed closed and classes remained online for months. These differences created a huge experiment, testing how well remote learning worked during the pandemic. Academic researchers have since been studying the subject, and they have come to a consistent conclusion: Remote learning was a failure. (“‘Not Good for Learning,’” The Morning Newsletter, The New York Times, 5/05/2022)

“On average, students who attended in-person school for nearly all of 2020-21 lost about 20 percent worth of a typical school year’s math learning during the study’s two-year window. Some of those losses stemmed from the time the students had spent learning remotely during the spring of 2020, when school buildings were almost universally closed. And some of the losses stemmed from the difficulties of in-person schooling during the pandemic, as families coped with disruption and illness. But students who stayed home for most of 2020-21 fared much worse. On average, they lost the equivalent of about 50 percent of a typical school year’s math learning during the study’s two-year window.” (“‘Not Good for Learning,’” The Morning Newsletter, The New York Times, 5/05/2022)

‘Were Many Of These Problems Avoidable? The Evidence Suggests That They Were’

Were many of these problems avoidable? The evidence suggests that they were. Extended school closures appear to have done much more harm than good, and many school administrators probably could have recognized as much by the fall of 2020. In places where schools reopened that summer and fall, the spread of Covid was not noticeably worse than in places where schools remained closed. Schools also reopened in parts of Europe without seeming to spark outbreaks…. The Washington Post recently profiled a district in Colorado where schools reopened quickly, noting that no children were hospitalized and many thrived. ‘We wanted it to be as normal as possible,’ Chris Taylor, the president of the school board, said. Hundreds of other districts, especially in liberal communities, instead kept schools closed for a year or more. Officials said they were doing so to protect children and especially the most vulnerable children. The effect, however, was often the opposite.” (“‘Not Good for Learning,’” The Morning Newsletter, The New York Times, 5/05/2022)


Beginning In The Summer Of 2020, Senate Republicans Tried To Get Schools To Reopen, But Democrats Repeatedly Rejected Those Attempts For Months

In July 2020, Senate Republicans Introduced A COVID Relief Bill That Tied Education Funding To Schools Reopening For In-Person Instruction

“Reopening Schools Safely – $105 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund, including $70 billion for elementary and secondary schools, with more funding going to schools that physically reopen so they can do so safely; $29 billion for institutions of higher education; and $5 billion in flexible funding for governors to use for early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, or higher education, based on state needs.” (Sen. Blunt, Press Release, 7/27/2020)

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL): “We believe that as the leader said and, as Senator Grassley and others will say, this is for the American people to help get them back to work, keep them at work, get them back to school, keep them in school as safely as we can.” (Sen. Shelby, Press Conference, 7/27/2020)

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): “What our bill does is it deals with schools, elementary, secondary colleges, and universities, makes sure that we get our schools open in a safe way this fall.” (Sen. Thune, Press Conference, 7/28/2020)

In Fall 2020, Senate Democrats Twice Filibustered Senate Republicans’ Targeted COVID Relief Funding That Would Have Prioritized Schools Physically Reopening

46 Democrats voted to block Senate action on the relief bill. (S.178, Roll Call Vote #168: Motion Rejected: R: 52-1; D: 0-44; I: 0-2, 9/10/2020)

44 Senate Democrats voted to block the targeted COVID relief bill. (S. 178, Roll Call Vote #207: 51-44, R 51-0, D 0-42, I 0-2, 10/21/2020)

In Spring 2021, All 50 Senate Democrats Refused To Ensure School Funding Went To Support In-Person Learning

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) amendment to ensure that school reopening dollars are going to support in-person learning, conditioning funding on schools reopening. (S.Amdt. 1026 to S.Amdt. 891, H.R. 1319, Roll Call Vote #80: Rejected 48-51: D 0-48; R 48-1; I 0-2, 3/06/2021)

In Fall 2021, Months After The Vaccine Rollout, Not A Single Senate Democrat Voted To Ensure K-12 Schools Were Open For In-Person Learning

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) amendment to ensure elementary and secondary schools are open for in-person learning. (S.Amdt.3073, S.Con.Res.14, Roll Call Vote #324: Rejected 49-50: D 0-48; R 49-0; I 0-2; 8/10/2021)


Democrat Leaders Opposed Making ‘Funding For Schools Contingent Upon Reopening’ And Said Having Students Back In School Was Too Risky

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “As schools years begin across the country, the new ‘emaciated’ Republican bill basically makes funding for schools contingent upon reopening.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 9/09/2020)

CNN’s DANA BASH: “But I just want to ask you for your reaction to the interview that I just had with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Given what you just heard, briefly, are you confident that students and teachers will go back safely to school in the fall?”
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): “No. I think what we heard from the secretary was malfeasance and dereliction of duty. This is appalling. They're messing, they're messing -- the president and his administration are messing with the health of our children. … And when you hear what the administration is saying, we know that they have no appreciation for the failure that has brought us to this point. Going back to school is -- presents the biggest risk for the spread of the coronavirus. They ignore science, and they ignore governance in order to make this happen.” (CNN’s “State of the Union,” 7/12/2020)


FLASHBACK: Last Year, The Biden Administration Refused To Take On The Teachers’ Unions To Get Schools Open Sooner

“President Biden made it clear… that he is not blaming teachers and their unions for schools remaining closed during the coronavirus pandemic, telling reporters at the White House that reopening is ‘complicated’ and that all the teachers he knows want to get back to their classrooms. At a time when the Chicago Teachers Union is refusing an order by district and city officials for educators to return to their classrooms, Biden said that districts should prioritize fixing ventilation systems, securing sufficient personal protective equipment and establishing coronavirus testing systems. … Asked by one reporter how the president defines his message of ‘unity,’ Biden talked about Americans coming together to solve problems, including reopening schools. He said people know ‘we have to do something about figuring out how to get children back in school,’ and he rejected blaming teachers and their unions.” (“Biden: I Don’t Blame Teachers Or Their Unions For Schools Staying Closed,” The Washington Post, 1/25/2021)

“Following weeks of standoff in some cities and states where teachers unions are demanding vaccines as a condition of reopening, the issue came to a head Wednesday when Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said vaccination of teachers ‘is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.’ But in a juggling of positions, the White House declined to back Walensky, saying she was speaking ‘in her personal capacity.’ Asked [February 5th] about her earlier comments, Walensky punted.” (“School Reopening Debate Tests Biden’s Ties With Teachers Unions,” The Associated Press, 2/05/2021)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Mr. Biden figured that his support for the teachers union agenda, along with more money, would get the unions to reopen the schools. Instead he’s discovering what America’s parents have learned in the last year: Unions run the schools, and no one—not parents, not school districts, not mayors, and not even a new Democratic President—will tell them what to do…. This really is one of the great scandals of the pandemic…. If Mr. Biden really wants to lead, he’d use his bully pulpit to say school districts that don’t reopen classrooms won’t get the money.” (Editorial, “The Teachers Unions Roll Over Biden,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/10/2021)



Related Issues: COVID-19, Education