‘A lost generation’: Surge of research reveals students sliding backward, most vulnerable worst affected

Source: The Washington Post

By: Laura Meckler
and Hannah Natanson

After the U.S. education system fractured into Zoom screens last spring, experts feared millions of children would fall behind. Hard evidence now shows they were right.

A flood of new data — on the national, state and district levels — finds students began this academic year behind. Most of the research concludes students of color and those in high-poverty communities fell further behind their peers, exacerbating long-standing gaps in American education.

A study released this week by McKinsey & Co. estimates that the shift to remote school in the spring set White students back by one to three months in math, while students of color lost three to five months. As the coronavirus pandemic persists through this academic year, McKinsey said, losses will escalate.

“I think we should be very concerned about the risk of a lost generation of students,” said former education secretary John B. King Jr., who is now president of Education Trust, an advocacy and research group focused on equity issues.

The McKinsey study echoes a half dozen other national reports released in recent days. They all find that students regressed because of lost classroom time in the spring, particularly in math, though the reports vary in degree of the losses and in disparities among student groups.

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