This article appeared in the April 30, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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As first US schools give up on remote learning, how to help students recover?

Mike Stewart/AP
Kirsten Martin, 16, a Kell High School student, works from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, March 17, 2020, in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Kim Campbell
Culture & Education Editor

Some school districts are throwing in the towel. For Carrollton City Schools, in Georgia, Friday is the last day students (and their exhausted parents) will have to worry about learning remotely. Other schools in Georgia, Texas, and Washington, D.C., are wrapping up several weeks early.

The question becomes: How is the United States going to help these students make up for lost time?

report by the Northwest Evaluation Association, a nonprofit test provider, estimates students are likely to return in the fall, after nearly a half-year out of school, with only about 70% of typical reading progress. The number drops to less than 50% for math, and in some grades students may lose a full year of growth.

Summer school and additional support are among the recommendations suggested to help alleviate that. But examples of perseverance from the U.S. and around the world when students have been displaced also offer a way forward.

After Hurricane Katrina, by some accounts it took two years for students to make up for the missed learning. But they did recover. Elsewhere, examples include refugees like Dina Radeljas, who fled Bosnia as a second grader and in 2014 earned a Ph.D. In her talks with experts about past world events – Rwandan genocide, the Syrian civil war, the Ebola crisis – NPR education reporter Anya Kamenetz found reason to be optimistic.

“[One source] helped me see how education can be the cornerstone of a nation’s recovery from a crisis because education is really our collective work to bring hope and bring energy for the future and prepare our young people for a better future,” she noted in an interview on Morning Edition. “And that’s what we all need so much right now.”

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This article appeared in the April 30, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 04/30 edition
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