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Report: Closing Schools Prevents Learning
Results from Global Study Shock No One
An economist at the World Bank took data from countries around the world where they closed schools in response to the Covid pandemic. The results are not surprising, and confirm what common sense already tells us- longer school closures led to less learning. Or in the terms of the paper, more learning loss.
Source: Harry Anthony Patrinos (2023): The Longer Students Were Out of School, the Less They Learned, Journal of School Choice, DOI: 10.1080/15582159.2023.2210941
It seems that the mainstream view is slowly turning from “school closures were harmful, but necessary” to “school closures were harmful, and unnecessary.” However, there is still a lot of explaining away the disheartening data on education outcomes going on. For school closure enthusiasts, the downward trend is the fault of “the pandemic” and the effect of Covid itself or even “long-covid” or perhaps the emotional toll from the death of a loved one.
However, the data do not support that idea. A strength of this paper is that it not only looked at length of school closures, but also at Covid death rates, vaccination rates, school quality, restriction stringency, and others. Here’s what it found:
“In terms of learning loss, it makes little difference if the controls are included;
all are insignificant, and they do not change the coefficient on school closures
much (see Table 2). With or without controls, every week of school closures
increases learning loss by almost 0.01 of a standard deviation; or 1% of
a standard deviation. This means that a 20-week closure will reduce learning
outcomes by the equivalent of almost ¾ of a year’s worth of schooling. No
other observed variable has an impact, so it is merely duration that counts. “
We are now seeing the massively negative impact that our policy decisions have had upon children and education, but the data shows us what our common sense already knew. It’s honestly hard to believe that there has to be research and data published to support such an obvious thing- but this is the bizarre world that we are living in.
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