In Brief: The Lost Boys of COVID
Covid-mandated school closures caused a devastating domino effect.
Democrats and their teachers union pals wrecked our kids — that much we know, especially after the recent report card on schools after two-plus years of COVID upheaval. Political analyst Bethany Mandel agrees, and she further explores the damage done to our kids.
In vast swaths of the United States, a child now entering second grade has never had anything resembling a normal school experience. No child entering kindergarten has a memory of life before the pandemic. A rising junior in high school has never had a normal high school experience.
Kids were far less impacted by COVID itself than by the response to it.
For an entire generation, this real “long Covid” effect in kids will linger for decades, if not whole lives. Two years of Zoom school, masks and excessive and repeated quarantines, on top of canceled sports and extracurriculars, and extended amounts of time online will have a ripple effect not just for individual children, but for entire communities, and will extend far beyond “just” academics.
Mandel then delves into the very alarming statistics of student achievement — or the lack thereof — since 2019. Public schools certainly have their shortcomings, but you can’t take kids out of the classroom entirely and expect that they’ll keep up with prior standards. Worse, when you take boys out of the classroom, they often end up breaking the law.
What happens when you tell kids for two years that their education is not essential, letting them fall farther and farther behind their peers? What happens when boys, especially, are left to languish unsupervised, without a place to go and without purpose? Keeping kids off the streets has been the objective of every urban youth initiative for decades, because it has always been well understood that keeping kids off the streets means keeping them out of trouble. The chronic absenteeism of an entire generation isn’t just going to damage their lives and futures, but our entire society.
Across the country, youth crime is of increasing concern.
Then there’s the crime against children, which likewise rose drastically during lockdowns. Crimes committed against them fuel later crimes committed by them.
Mandel’s lengthy piece addresses these and other issues in detail, but she concludes with a powerful strategic assessment:
It will take a lifetime to learn the full scope of the effects of our Covid policies on the world’s youth. We will see the impact in a myriad of devastating statistics: a rise in crime, violence, physical and mental illness, illiteracy and starvation. There will be surprises, unexpected ways that our lockdown and school closure policies had a domino effect, like that of the severe pediatric hepatitis outbreak over a year after the worst of the world’s lockdowns were over. But one thing is for sure: we will be paying the price for what we’ve done to an entire generation for the rest of our lives, not to mention theirs.
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