On education, the proof (or lack thereof) is in the pudding

Tom Knighton:

I didn’t start out to hit education three days in a row like this, but when stories drop in your lap, sometimes you have to adjust fire and move forward.

On Wednesday, I addressed a proposal as to why homeschooling should be regulated and then took issue with a lot of teachers, particularly with regard to their demand for more and more money and more benefits.

But here’s the thing, if public school teachers were good at their jobs, I don’t think I’d say much. In far too many cases, though, they’re not. There are exceptions, but as a whole, we don’t see metrics screaming to us that our educational system is working as intended.

And we now have yet another example of just how bad it is. Ostensibly about learning loss following COVID, I think there’s a bigger issue at play here.

Key findings from the most recent school year available (2021-2022) include:

◼ In 2022, Only 26% of eighth graders were at or above proficient in math, much worse than before the pandemic (33% in 2019).

◼ Less than a third of fourth graders (32%) were at or above proficient in reading, two percentage points lower than right before the pandemic (34% in 2019).

◼ Thirty percent of all students (14.7 million students) were chronically absent, nearly double pre-pandemic rates (16% in 2018–19, the final school year fully unaffected by COVID). Two out of three students attended schools plagued by chronic absence.