Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when the rising generation receives an adequate education. By all accounts, many American children and youth have not received an adequate education over the past year. The one-year anniversary of “15 days to slow the spread” was recently passed, and full recognition of the damage done to the rising generation is dawning.
As schools shut down across the nation, millions of school students were sent home for online learning. Dr. Ben Carson shared his thoughts about the problems caused for the rising generation by the lockdown.
The negative consequences of full-time distance learning, decreased social interaction, and the cancellation of group sports are exponential as we prolong school shutdowns across our country.
The reality is that online learning may work for some, but doesn’t work for all. The negative impact on many students is real, but most acutely seen in our low-income, minority, rural, and special-needs populations.
For students that can access the internet – and not all of them can – many assumptions about full-time distance learning were made that proved to be wrong. For example, the amount of work it would take teachers to transition from in-person education to online education was greatly underestimated.
Similarly, for students, using a computer or tablet for recreation doesn’t necessarily translate to navigating a computer for learning, particularly for younger children. And keeping students engaged is an important part of teaching effectively, which has proven difficult to do remotely.
In addition to the problems stated above, there is another problem that may be the hardest one to solve. Carson said that there are an estimated 3 million students nationwide who did not bother to enroll for school last fall. He called these students “the most marginalized.” The long-term effects of full-time online learning are not known. This fact makes it more difficult to fix the problem before the effects “turn into long-term challenges,” according to Carson.
Because teachers’ unions continue to insist that schools remain closed, we are leaving many of our most vulnerable students permanently behind. But children are missing more than the education that classroom instruction provides. Child abuse and neglect is going unchecked. And we are seeing disturbing trends in the increase in incidents of self-harm, social anxiety, substance abuse, overdoses, and even suicide.
Extended school closures are taking their educational, physical, and emotional toll on our children. And if you believe the science, there’s no good reason to keep these closures in place.
The “experts” have said from the beginning of the pandemic that children and teens have lower transmission rates of COVID-19. There was no reason to close the schools in the first place, and keeping the schools closed goes against science. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance for schools to reopen safely, and there is real evidence to support that guidance.
Children in Arkansas, Iowa, Florida, and Texas returned to the classroom, some as early as last August. In addition, private schools and Catholic schools reopened in August where local authorities permitted. Schools in other nations, such as Taiwan, Norway, and Italy, minimized school closures. It is time for the rising generation to return to school and become assets to their families, communities, and nations.