Emmy Griffin / May 10, 2022

Remote Learning Was Worse for Kids Than We Thought

A new study explores digital learning and its predictable devastating outcomes for academics.

A Harvard study was recently published demonstrating the academic losses that students underwent as a result of the remote learning phenomenon.

Sadly, this writer has been vindicated. As a former teacher, what I observed in the classroom after children were permitted to come back to in-person learning has been studied. The results are even more pernicious than what I saw considering that the school in which I worked facilitated in-person learning a full year before the teacher unions loosened their grip and the CDC “deemed” it safe.

“In districts that went remote, achievement growth was lower for all subgroups, but especially for students attending high-poverty schools,” the study found. “In areas that remained in person, there were still modest losses in achievement, but there was no widening of gaps between high and low-poverty schools in math (and less widening in reading).” Translation: Remote learning hurt all students regardless of race, poverty level, or previous academic ability.

This was a predictable outcome because of the nature of remote learning. One educational theory many teachers use developed by Howard Gardner posits that people have “multiple intelligences” or specific ways that they learn. According to this theory, there are at least nine different types of intelligence ranging from audible intelligence (learning by hearing) to interpersonal intelligence (learning through interactions with other people). Remote learning only caters to auditory/visual learners, who represent only a very small percentage of the classroom. Incorporating movement, discussion, music, nature, building, and other practices help cater to the needs of all learners in the classroom. For obvious reasons, remote learning severely limits the effectiveness and engagement of this sort of education.

If this was such a foreseeable outcome to any teacher with two eyes and half a brain, why weren’t more COVID relief resources devoted to post-COVID academic recovery? The Biden administration allotted $122 billion to schools through the American Rescue Plan. The writers of the Harvard study “estimate that high-poverty districts that went remote in 2020-21 will need to spend nearly all of their federal aid on academic recovery to help students recover from pandemic-related achievement losses.” And yet some 13 states decided to use that COVID relief money on critical race theory training for their teachers. The students may not be educated or literate, but, by golly, they are anti-racist! Ignorant, foolish mismanagement of funds fits perfectly into the bigoted worldview of low expectations that CRT upholds.

Truly, the only benefit that remote learning afforded these children was to open their parents’ eyes to what sort of teaching was going on in the classrooms. The purpose of school — education — was consistently benched in lieu of those seeking power. This will have tremendous negative effects on this generation unless steps are taken to catch them up and not waste their precious time with garbage.

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