Regret Growing Over School Closures

Dr. Munr Kazmir
4 min readJan 19, 2023

The worst learning loss in a generation is going to extract a heavy toll over the next decade.

Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

Online School Put U.S. Kids Behind,” reported Real Clear Politics on October 24, 2022: “Some adults have regrets.”

There is plenty to regret — national test results are in, and they are abysmal. Extended public school closures erased 20 years of educational gains in reading and math. The price tag for extended public school closures is estimated to be well into the trillions.

Then there is the human cost.

“Vivian Kargbo thought her daughter’s Boston school district was doing the right thing when officials kept classrooms closed for most students for more than a year,” wrote RCP.

Kargbo’s was a sentiment shared by many families in 2020. Plenty of families will recognize what happened next, too.

“But her daughter became depressed and stopped doing school work or paying attention to online classes,” continued RCP. “The former honor-roll student failed nearly all of her eighth-grade courses.”

“Preliminary test scores around the country confirm what Kargbo witnessed: The longer many students studied remotely, the less they learned,” the news outlet reported. “Some educators and parents are questioning decisions in cities from Boston to Chicago to Los Angeles to remain online long after clear evidence emerged that schools weren’t COVID-19 super-spreaders — and months after life-saving adult vaccines became widely available.”

“She’s behind,” laments Kargbo of her daughter now. “It [distance learning] didn’t work at all. Knowing what I know now, I would say they should have been in school.”

“I wish we’d been in person earlier,” a second parent was quoted as saying before echoing another very common refrain: “Other schools seemed to be doing it successfully.”

It’s true: From West Texas to Europe to Florida, public schools in many places only closed for a few weeks, if that.

“The pandemic has caused the most catastrophic disruption to education in history,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Henri P. Kluge spoke out urgently against school closures in August of 2021, joining colleagues from the WHO and UNICEF. “It is…