covid learning loss

An answer for the way COVID put our children behind

Originally published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Maria Elizabeth had to make a hard choice: send her son to a failing school in Clairton or get a second job selling homemade tamales to afford tuition at a private school. Many parents face the same kind of choice. And COVID made it worse.

Seventy-eight percent of our state’s eighth-graders are not proficient in math, according to the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) statewide results for 2021, released in March. Moreover, 47% of them fall below their grade level in language arts. That’s a 5- and a 10 percentage point drop respectively, since the last PSSAs in pre-COVID 2019.

In Allegheny County, things seem a bit less scary, Sixty-three percent of eighth-graders don’t meet their grade level in math, and 42% are not proficient in language arts. Yet, here too test scores dropped from 2019 to 2021—13 points for math and 7.8 for language arts.

Read more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette