Education Week’s Sarah D. Sparks took on the question, “How Much Real Learning Time Are Students Losing during the Pandemic?” She writes…

Unfortunately, a series of new analyses suggest that the pandemic disrupted both of the most critical kinds of educational time. During 220, students have received significantly less direct teacher instructional time than during a typical school year and have not spent enough independent time on educational activities to make up for the loss. And the losses in instructional and educational time are more pronounced for students in some racial and income groups than for others.

The analysis, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, focused on data from that state in the Census Household Pulse Survey, a weekly survey on life during the pandemic conducted in 2020. Researchers found that by fall, 18% of students overall, and 20% of those in low-income families, received no live instruction each week. Less than 70% of students in the state received some live teaching at least four days a week, with Black, Latino, and low-income students more likely than white or Asian-American students to receive less or no live instruction.

 The Census’s most recent national data from January 6-18 shows those trends haven’t changed much in the new semester. 52% of all parents of K-12 students enrolled in public or private schools reported that their children spent less time on all learning activities than they had before the pandemic. That held for students of most racial backgrounds, though nationwide, parents of Black students are now more likely than other racial groups to say their students’ educational activity time has risen or been stable compared to before the pandemic began.

Concludes Nio Gao of the PPIC: “These trends are cause for concern as distance learning continues, threatening to widen racial and socioeconomic disparities as many students fall behind.”

And that matters a lot.

~With my thanks, Carol