Do South Florida Schools Deserve F’s More Than Students?

When it comes to education, the COVID Slide is the phrase being used to describe what’s been happening educationally. Last week’s annual NWEA fall assessment showed just how far the slide has been for students nationally. The average 3rd-8th grade student is half a year behind where they were a year ago. South Florida’s students haven’t been immune. Through the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year, the percentage of 6th-12th graders who are failing in Broward is up by 11%. For Miami-Dade, it's 9% up and for Palm Beach County it's 11%.

Let me put this another way. The increase in F’s year over year in South Florida in the tri-county area is 275% for Broward, Miami-Dade is 225%, and Palm Beach County up 367%.

That’s staggering. It’s the worst one-year decline in education outcomes I’ve seen and I’ve extensively studied education outcomes dating back to the creation of the Department of Education in 1980. Again, it’s also to be somewhat expected. Entering the current school year, a study showed 60% of students performed worse with online education than in the classroom. It stands to reason that the COVID slide could take A students down to B’s and so on. That’s essentially what we’re seeing happen here. 

So back to the school districts. Right along we’ve heard educators say we should follow the science during the pandemic. To be clear, science has been in favor of classroom education since the summer. Prior to the start of this school year. As Dr. Fauci put it, the default position should be in favor of classroom education. However, in the name of the virus, South Florida’s school districts delayed the start of the school year, began with online-only options, and were reluctant to fully embrace classroom education. What’s more, is the state’s largest teacher’s union, the Florida Education Association, sued the state to attempt to prevent classroom education. While their lawsuit eventually failed, the disinformation behind the lawsuit misinformed many parents who trusted the FEA and led to them keeping their children away from school.

There’s often been a debate about whether the education system has been slowly failing students or whether parents aren’t doing their part to prepare their kids to learn. The truth is likely a combination of the two. This time, however, as our kids are suffering the worst year over year performance decline on record, it’s safe to safe our educators failed our communities. Thankfully, the districts have realized the error of their ways and are now calling on parents to prioritize classroom education for students but for many the damage from the COVID slide is already done. Time is the one thing we can never get back. If they’d followed the science, rather than the politics in the first place, we might not be having this conversation in South Florida.

Photo by: Getty Images

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content