“The central plank of Newsom’s education transformation has been, in essence, to leave poor kids behind”

Michael Lucci:

California ranked last of all states in reopening schools after the pandemic, and the poor suffered the most. A study by Harvard economists finds that in states like California, where remote instruction was more common during the pandemic, high-poverty schools spent an additional nine weeks in remote instruction compared with low-poverty schools. In contrast, states like Florida and Texas had much lower rates of remote instruction, and smaller differences in its overall use between high- and low-poverty districts.

Brookings researchers have also demonstrated how school closings and remote learning hurt poor students. They showed that national “test-score gaps between students in low-poverty and high-poverty elementary schools grew by approximately 20% in math and 15% in reading.” The gap grew fastest in California.

Instead of a national model, Newsom’s California is a national warning of what happens when the progressive education establishment captures a state.

The political ads Newsom ran in Florida reveal perhaps an even greater disconnect between his rhetoric and California’s reality. Newsom warned Floridians that freedom “is under attack in your state,” and urged Florida residents to “join the fight, or join us in California where we still believe in freedom.” Newsom’s messaging turns gaslighting into a political strategy. If California believes in freedom, it has an odd way of showing it. After years of mask mandates, school closures, and pervasive lockdowns, Californians must be wondering what limits exist on state government intrusion into their lives. Nonetheless, they can’t help but notice the newfound freedoms that criminals and street homeless have enjoyed in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, where the rule of law has eroded at the hands of activist district attorneys.

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