Q&A – How Significant Is The COVID-19 Slide In South Florida’s Schools?

boy showing failing grade on electronic tablet

Photo: Getty Images

Today’s entry: Forget the mask debate. Looks like our school boards shouldn’t get paid because of this.

Bottom Line: The “this” was a link to the Sun-Sentinel story entitled: No failing grades, but failing performance in South Florida schools. It doesn’t exactly give you good vibes about what’s been happening as far as learning is concerned. The story opens with "South Florida schools will escape the stigma of getting F grades this year, but many still failed miserably in their student achievement scores during the first full year of the pandemic. Had the state released grades this year, almost half of Broward County schools and a third of Palm Beach County schools would have received D’s or F’s, according to state data released by the two school districts."

Yikes. A third to a half of our public schools were outright failures at education last year. That’s a big deal. But I won't forget the mask debate because the two are related. As is cited in the story, this paints a clearer picture of the extent of the COVID slide. Be mindful last school year is independent of the slide which occurred in the final months of the prior school year at the start of the pandemic. More frustrating still is the record money we’ve been paying for education that far too commonly has failed our kids as the state records reveal. This is where a next-level conversation is important in my view. What the heck are we really doing in our schools? 

Are we more worried about a virus than we are educating? That’s not a rhetorical question and it does have an answer. Given that we have school mask mandates in South Florida’s school districts the answer is, absolutely yes. We’re far more concerned about the virus than actual teaching and learning in the classroom. As I’ve regularly discussed for nearly two months, there are 13 studies on team Fauch’s website at the National Institutes of Health on the subject. Each one studying the impact of masking in the classroom shows teachers teach less and students learn less when they wear masks.

So, this really isn’t complicated. We send kids to school to learn. Teachers go to school to teach. It’s been proven that less of all of that happens with masks. So, what do our school districts do? Mandate them. What happened? Less teaching and less learning with up to a half of our public schools proven to have been outright failures last year. It’s not complicated. But now think of what we’ve let happen and continue to allow to happen. 

We’re now into our third school year of impaired teaching and learning. What’s the long-term impact on our kids? Why isn’t this conversation front and center, as it should be with our school districts? Why can’t we have a pragmatic mask policy where students and teachers wear masks when they’re not at their desks and around others but remove them when they are? We’ve allowed fear of the virus to create failure in education and to your point, when our school districts are the ones mandating the policy that’s leading to the failure, I’d agree that they’ve not earned our hard-earned money.  

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

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