An executive board member of a Virginia teachers union defended remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic in an interview with ProPublica, saying that the learning loss suffered as a result of the education method made everyone “equal.”
In an interview with ProPublica, Melvin Hostman, a member of the executive board of the Richmond Education Association (REA), said that he found it hard to support the push for additional instruction time to combat learning loss when school districts have more important areas of need such as a “lack of toilet paper, school buses arriving late and widespread absenteeism.” After the COVID-19 pandemic, students suffered massive learning loss as only 13% of eighth graders met grade level expectations during the 2021-2022 school year and every state saw a decline in math scores since 2019. (RELATED: ‘Thank You, Friend’: Texts Reveal Chummy Relationship Between Biden’s CDC Chief And Teachers Union Bosses)
“The whole thing about learning loss I found funny is that, if everyone was out of school, and everyone had learning loss, then aren’t we all equal? We all have a deficit,” Hostman told ProPublica.
After Hostman was told during the ProPublica interview that remote learning had racially disproportionate learning loss impacts, the teachers union leader said, “of course — because our society is inherently unequal.” Hostman noted that after returning to in-person learning, teachers are lacking morale because they had work-life balance during virtual learning.
Virtual learning gave teachers more time to run personal errands because school districts had shortened the school day in an effort to reduce screen time, ProPublica reported. School districts throughout the country are adding more instructional time for students in an effort to combat learning loss; in Los Angeles, the school year has been lengthened four days while in Atlanta, Georgia, the school day has been extended by 30 minutes.
In Richmond, Virginia, school district administration is debating whether it will extend its academic calendar to address learning loss while teachers and the REA push back against the change, ProPublica reported.Following the COVID-19 pandemic, civics test scores dropped for the first time ever in 2022. The same year, reading levels in K-12 schools fell in line with scores last seen in the 1990s, which is the largest drop in reading scores on record, according to the Nation’s Report Card.
The learning loss suffered from remote learning is costing school districts millions; students in Seattle, Washington, lost an average of 17 weeks of math instruction and 10 weeks of reading lessons, which is expected to cost the school district $105 million to recover those losses. Fairfax Public School District in Virginia, will need a total of $343 million to make up for students’ loss of 16 weeks of learning in math and 11 in reading.
The REA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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