News

A national testing organization that predicted school closures last spring would leave students far behind where they should be academically as they entered schools this fall released data Tuesday showing the reality, while worrisome, was less dire.

The test results from the Portland-based nonprofit organization NWEA is one of the first large-scale efforts documenting the actual “learning loss” caused by the disruptions of Covid-19 that educators fear could set back a generation of students.

Other researchers also have tried to quantify “learning loss,” although the term may be a misnomer, at least in this case. While some students’ math and reading skills actually did regress on the organization’s MAP Growth assessment, most returned to school this fall showing gains from the spring — but less than what they otherwise would have achieved, NWEA said.

Read more at EdSource.

The good news: The recession California officials predicted in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic has not been as dire as they thought it would be, leaving the state with a $26 billion windfall heading into the next fiscal year.

The bad news: A reason for the unanticipated cash reveals the state’s stark economic divide. Pandemic-induced job losses have been concentrated among low-wage workers, who pay relatively little taxes to begin with, while wealthy residents have continued to make money and pay taxes, leading to much greater tax collections than officials predicted in early summer.

“We’re ending up in a place where the overall fiscal picture of the state doesn’t look nearly as bleak as the conditions for the people who are weathering the pandemic and all of its negative effects,” said Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget and Policy Center.

Read more at CALMAtters.