In the May 22 edition of The Atlantic, economist and faculty director of Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Thomas Kane penned “Kids Are Far, Far Behind in School,” writing that “The achievement loss is far greater than most educators and parents seem to realize… Adults are free to disagree about whether school closures were justified or a mistake. But either way, children should not be stuck with the bill for a public-health measure taken on everyone’s behalf.”

He goes on to note that, in schools that returned quickly to in-person instruction, students lost about seven to ten weeks of academic progress. Those forced to remain remote suffered a 22-week learning loss!

To bring them up to par, schools have offered tutoring services, but have those efforts paid off?

To answer that question, the Education Week Research Center surveyed 1,287 districts and school leaders and teachers between April 27 and May 2…

  • Not surprising: Most participants said the need was great.
  • Disheartening: Many also noted that few kids took advantage of the tutoring services.

Moreover, according to the survey:

  1. 87% of schools/districts offered tutoring services this school yar; 13% did not.
  2. 17% of students participated; 43% would have benefited.
  3. 55% of schools/districts offered tutoring in math, 53% in reading, 17% in science, and 10% in social studies.
  4. 33% of the students met consistently with the same tutor; 43% did about half of the time, 23% did so less than 50% of the time, and 1% had no one.
  5. 89% of participants said tutors provided help after school; 45% said during a scheduled class period; 22% said during lunch; 15% when school was not in session, and 8% on weekends.

That begged the question: Were the offerings effective? Of the participants,

  • Just 33% completely agreed.
  • 42% somewhat agreed.
  • 10% somewhat disagreed.
  • 4% completely disagreed.
  • 12% didn’t offer any such services.

On top of all that, major problems emerged:

  • 58% said it was their students’ unwillingness to enroll.
  • 48% said not enough tutors were available.
  • 43% said it was the families’ unwillingness to permit or support enrollment.
  • 41% said it was transportation issues.
  • 39% said it was after-school activities.
  • 34% blamed cost.

And so it went. Schools are shuttered now for the summer, but once reopened, what then?

With my thanks and good 4th of July wishes, Carol