June 22, 2023
By: Katie Clancy
Devastating results just released from the Department of Education show student test scores have taken a nosedive. Alarm bells are sounding across the country.
Will they here?
Parents desperately wanted their children to return to the classroom for in-person instruction. Many school districts and private schools worked extremely hard to ensure teachers and students could safely return.
Others? Not so much. This was how the Chicago Teachers Union responded to the push to reopen schools:
“The push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism, and misogyny.”
“As educators, we must resist getting sucked into the contrived notion of “learning
loss.” To say our students have not learned during the pandemic is an insult to them
and to their teachers.”
Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), also had this to say in reference to children who were out of school for months:
“Kids are resilient and kids will recover.”
The latest test results tell us they couldn’t have been more wrong.
Despite billions of federal dollars sent to schools across the country ($3.6 billion in unspent funds in Illinois), children still suffered.
Math scores nationally had the biggest dip recorded in 50 years.
In Illinois, the State Report Card shows 31.% of students in 2019 were meeting or exceeding expectations in Mathematics. In 2022, the number dropped to 25.5%.
In Chicago Public Schools, where students had two years of virtual instruction, only 14.9% of students were meeting and exceeding expectations in Mathematics.
It was shameful for Union Leaders to keep schools closed for as long as they did and for politicians like Governor Pritzker to stand on the sidelines as families suffered.
What’s worse is failing to hold school districts controlled by the teachers unions accountable for their terrible academic outcomes. Instead, Illinois Democrats want to reward them by destroying private schools, nixing the one lifeline for families in this year’s state budget- the Invest in Kids Scholarship Program.
This program allows families to choose the educational environment that best fits their children’s needs, empowering them with opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.
In the face of declining student test scores, Illinois should embrace the transformative potential of school choice.Families are desperate to help their children regain the learning losses they suffered during this whole ordeal. The General Assembly must reform the state’s failed school system and offer families a lifeline to escape from underperforming schools.