“Learning Loss” Is Nothing Compared To “Leadership Loss” – A Reply To Our State Superintendent’s Comments On The “Lost Year Of Learning”

This is the argument – numbers in a data table.

To State Superintendent Catherine Truitt, it has been a “lost year of learning.”

Dismiss the irony that a person who was a chancellor of an online college that had really no “in-person learning” itself said the above.

Dismiss the fact that that data table leaves so many questions that need to be answered.

  • So, how many of these students live in poverty?
  • How many already had circumstances in their lives that impeded their ability to engage with curriculum that just got exacerbated by the government’s response to the pandemic?
  • How many of these students live in households that were not helped by lack of Medicaid expansion, connectivity, or even adequate help from the worst state unemployment system in the country?

The very person who has been calling for local school systems to open up school buildings during a pandemic literally sat on stages and offered newsworthy quotes with people who years ago made it harder for today’s public schools to actually open safely.

Think of the unfunded mandate that was “class size chaos” and the lack of a statewide bond to build new buildings to help overcrowded situations and the elimination of thousands of teacher assistant positions.

Now think of the push by Truitt to decrease the spacing between people in schools from 6 feet to 3 feet. Social distancing and people to help enforce mitigation strategies are key to opening up school buildings safely. Makes one think about what might could be if we still had those teacher assistants and if we did have funding for more school space especially considering that the people Truitt sat on stages with have bragged about incredible budget surpluses.

But back to this “learning loss” and all of these students failing.

Just imagine what those numbers would be if all teachers had treated grading and delivery of curriculum with the same expectations that we did before the pandemic.

I have altered everything in my approach to teaching – how I grade, what and when I accept work, how I communicate to and with students and parents, and how plan instruction.

I have found more grace and more willingness and more love.

I have changed the lens through which I was viewing this school year.

There was no historical precedent to go by. Nothing standard at all.

Truitt is literally showing us that she does not know that and that is why she is trying to measure student achievement without acknowledging student realities.

We have had to reinvent process and delivery as well as focus more on the non academic aspects of what schools do. Mrs. Truitt is not willing to acknowledge that. She gives us a data table and stresses that we give standardized tests to students to measure “learning loss.”

But “learning loss” is nothing compared to “leadership loss.”

A leader cannot forget this pandemic and its effects on students, teachers, and schools outside of the classroom.

It means that nothing was learned from it.

And we have as a nation and as a state “lost” enough.