Just to begin, let’s look at where education was before the coronavirus pandemic. Education was not doing as much good as it should have been. As a psychologist, I study reading data because we have found that reading failure affects lifelong development from childhood to old age. Yes, it really does. When I was teaching university classes, I often sent my Lifespan Development students to a local nursing home to talk with residents about their early childhood experiences in reading. As one man said, “We were the Bluebirds. I have no idea why because everybody knew we couldn't read. I still can’t read.”
Unfortunately, students are still having trouble reading.
Before the pandemic, according to the Nation’s Report Card, more than 60% of children were not able to read at their grade level in school in 4th, 8th, or 12th grade. We have a major reading education problem in the U. S.
The charts show that more than 60% of students across the nation cannot read at grade level in 4th, 8th, and 12th grade. The curriculum responsible for these devastating reading scores combines phonics, whole language, and balanced literacy. All three have been proven not to work.
See: Is Teaching Decoding and Encoding a Form of Phonics? No.
Keep in mind that all of these test scores were from classroom instruction before COVID-19. These scores reflect teaching methods used in classrooms before the coronavirus pandemic. There was no disruption. No online education or worksheets. These test scores are from regular in-class instruction.
Is this the educational level that we are fighting and risking children’s lives for? Is this why we are demanding that students be sent back to school, regardless how dangerous COVID-19 may be?
Would it actually be so bad to teach a few weeks online?
Keep the children safe. I’m not saying that we should revert to online teaching for the remainder of the year—just a few weeks or a month until omicron slows down. Then, reopen the schools when it is safer.
Once the schools are open for good, we also need to improve our teaching methods in the classroom. I’ll have more to say about teaching methods later.
Should We Be Sending Students Back to School?