The science of catching up
Tens of millions of students may now be months or, in some cases, even a full year behind because they couldn’t attend school in person during the pandemic.
Significant setbacks are especially likely for the most vulnerable students — kids with disabilities and those living in poverty, who didn’t have a computer, a reliable internet connection or a workspace to learn at home. Educators will have to do something different for the 2021-22 school year to make up for those losses.
Schools are already spending big chunks of their approximately $190 billion in pandemic relief money on a range of strategies from after-school programs to cutting class size. But research shows that many of these ideas have had a spotty track record in the past and that schools will have to pay close attention to what’s worked—and what hasn’t—to maximize their odds for success with just about any strategy. There’s no silver bullet. And the pandemic’s fits and starts in instruction are unprecedented in the history of American public education and have affected students unevenly.
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