Let’s Stop the Learning Losses for Good
The Homework Gap has been creating Learning Loss since the start of the internet. This is not a COVID problem.
There has already been so much talk in the media about learning losses that I’m sure everyone in the education space is tired of hearing it. When I was a teacher, I saw many terms used by those who intend to reform or improve education follow this arc. The phrases come onto the scene, whistling and shrill, gaining decibels as they grow, exploding with overuse, until they rain down as fizzling little ashes, no longer to be used at all, except with a sense that the words had not turned out to mean quite what we thought they would.
I’ve seen the beginning of debate around the term learning loss. What does it mean? Has it happened, and to whom? What is not debatable is that public school wasn’t available to all American students in 2020. As I’ve pointed out in my past posts, we finally noticed that 1/3 of American kids don’t have the internet at home. But now that we’re slowly returning to everyday life in the United States, those 1/3 of American kids still don’t have the internet at home.
We know that practice (application + repetition) is a critical part of the learning process. Homework is not nearly as “small” a thing as many of us might think. It’s an important form of practice. When kids can’t complete their homework because they can’t get online, they don’t practice as much as peers. Over time, this lower amount of practice leads to a permanent reduction in lifetime income. For our society as a whole, it costs us tens of billions in lost productivity.
That is why, no matter how you may already feel about the term “learning loss,” we believe it’s essential that we not associate that term solely with the pandemic. Roughly 1/3 of American kids experience learning losses all the time and we consistently forget about them. Because they are invisible. They are often not represented in the surveys and studies of student progress specifically because they and their families are less connected. That is a real obstacle for those seeking to study and address this issue, but it’s time to acknowledge the limitations of existing data and conclusions. For example, this article initially calls learning losses a misnomer and then digs deeper (I wish the headline dug deeper as well) and acknowledges that the gap persists for some kids: the African-American, Latino, and Native American kids. As expressed within that same article by Scott Marion, Executive Director for the Center for Assessment:
That is also why we believe that technology like what we’ve created with Hello PLATO is going to play a critical role in the long-term closure of the homework gap in the United States and around the world.
If you’d like to learn more about us, please check out our website and follow us on social media.
Teachers – We Need Your Help!
We’re inviting teachers across America to use Hello PLATO to support their SUMMER LEARNING and LEARNING LOSS recovery programs. It’s an ideal way to reach the students who’ve missed the most.
Think it’s Cool? SPREAD THE WORD!
We’re inviting thought leaders and advocates to spread the word about what we’re doing at Hello PLATO. Please follow us on social media and share your support for our mission.