This article appeared in the Edwardsville Intelligencer, on January 5, 2023
I was startled to learn that students could potentially shave $70,000 off the lifetime earnings if they were in school during the pandemic, according to a new study by a Stanford economist.
The sobering forecast is based on an analysis of the sharp declines in the scores of eighth-graders on national math tests taken between 2019 and 2022.
If the learning losses aren’t recovered, K-12 students on average will grow into less educated, lower-skilled and less productive adults and will earn 5.6% less over the course of their lives than students educated just before the pandemic, said Eric A. Hanushek, a Stanford University economist who specializes in education. He said the losses could total $28 trillion over the rest of this century.
Dr. Hanushek further speculates that the economic costs of the learning losses will swamp business cycle losses. To put this in perspective less discretionary income equates to less purchasing power. Discretionary income includes money spent on luxury items, vacations, and nonessential goods and services. Because discretionary income is the first to shrink amid a job loss or pay reduction, businesses that sell discretionary goods tend to suffer the most during economic downturns and recessions.
Scores on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation’s Report Card, fell across the board. Dr. Hanushek’s analysis is based on eighth grade math test scores that fell an average of eight points from 2019, before the pandemic. That is the largest drop ever recorded on the 32-year-old exam and translates to between 0.6 and 0.8 years of missed school, according to Dr. Hanushek.
Unfortunately, pandemic learning loss has hit minority students the hardest. According to McKinsey & Company, Students of color were about three to five months behind in learning; white students were about one to three months behind.
The researchers were quick to point out if the learning losses aren’t recovered. I asked Dr. Patrick Shelton-District 7 Superintendent his thoughts on what could be done to reverse this trend. Dr. Shelton provided the following advice:
I ask parents to make a New Year’s Resolution, to make a conscious effort to work of their child’s soft skills and connect with their educators to create a plan of work to fill in the learning gaps. The ball in in your corner, your move.
The Edwardsville NAACP Educational Grant is awarded to deserving graduating Edwardsville High School Seniors. Applications are being accepted NOW!!!!
Our organization is only as good as our members. Luckily, we have the best people in the world working with us to help us succeed.
Creating a better world can’t be done from the sidelines. Take action, and help our city improve! Raise your voice for change.
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination