If there is anything that is consistent as to what the state superintendent has stated about this past year concerning the effects of the pandemic on public schools, then it can be summed up in one word: convenience.
About a month ago, Supt. Catherine Truitt co-authored an op-ed that appeared in EdNC.org entitled “Call ‘learning loss’ what you like. The words matter far less than the work.”
And it began with these words:
A couple of paragraphs into the perspective and there is this:
And as a teacher, I appreciate that my efforts in the face of the pandemic with my students at the time were noticed on the highest levels.
But those sentiments feel a little empty. Why? Because it seems to be the exact opposite of what Supt. Truitt said right after she was elected about seven months ago.
Remember in her November 22nd interview with Fox News on national television, Catherine Truitt was quoted as telling the producers of the segment that “between March and September students lost on average 50% in literacy and 70% for math.”
She was talking about “learning loss” due to the pandemic.
Listen for yourself. Click here for the link.
It was a fairly bold claim considering that almost half of the time between March and September is traditionally a summer break.
It’s also odd that all federally mandated tests and most state tests that “measure” learning traditionally given at the end of a school year were waived very eagerly by officials on the national and state levels.
Hard to quantify “student learning loss” without the actual testing data. Even harder to quantify learning loss due to the pandemic during that span when there is no historical precedent to measure it against.
Yes, in her recent missive, Truitt does mention “summer slide.” But not in the first interview.
Yes, in her recent missive, Truitt mentions that the data to find what the effects of the pandemic were “emerging.” But not in the first interview.
Now in the month since this June, 2021 op-ed, we have seen an increase in the “Delta” variant of the Covid 19 virus. It’s more contagious, more powerful, less discriminatory in whom it infects as far as age is concerned, and especially lethal against those who are not vaccinated.
It’s still summer which is supposedly the time of year where communicable sicknesses are least transmitted. “Cold & Flu” season come after the traditional school year starts when people stay indoors longer and congregate in more confined areas. Many local school boards are starting to meet this week to ascertain policies on masks.
Many hospital systems are starting to require all of their employees to get vaccinated.
So, what does the state superintendent say about these trends and what school systems need to keep in mind when going into August school openings?
I hope not the convenient thing.
I hope she considers being an educational leader rather than a politician.
Politicizing this virus has killed too many people.