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Learning losses

By the Numbers


Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Learning losses
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The number of months elementary-school students across America are behind on reading as a result of school closures, online learning, and other pandemic restrictions imposed in 2020 and 2021. Elementary students are five months behind on math. Consulting firm McKinsey & Co., which studied test results for 1.6 million American schoolchildren this past spring, found academic results were even worse for majority-black schools and schools with more low-income students. As schools open back up for the fall, teachers must catch students up while a new variant of the coronavirus threatens to disrupt another school year.

83%

The share of preschool, K-12, college, and university students around the world whose schools were closed on March 30, 2020, due to pandemic restrictions, according to UNESCO.

0.8%

The annual rate of ­economic growth lost for the world as a ­consequence of school shutdowns in 2020 and 2021, according to an estimate in Comparative Education Review.

1.5M

The decline in U.S. public-school student enrollment from the 2019-20 school year to 2020-21—a drop of 3 percent.

$191B

The bundle of cash Congress set aside in 2020 and 2021 for public-­school systems to address learning loss, upgrade ­sanitation ­services, or deal with other hardships related to the pandemic.

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