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Northeast Ohio teachers say students still struggle with pandemic-related learning loss

A Cleveland Metropolitan School District bus parked on the side of a street.
Annie Wu
Ideastream Public Media
Districts across the U.S. and locally, like the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, are still facing academic and behavioral challenges with their students post-pandemic.

K-12 schools were completely upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, but unless you're a teacher in the classroom, or a parent with a school-aged child, you may not have as clear of a picture about what the landscape in schools looks like now.

This year, the first detailed national study of student recovery from Stanford and Harvard researchers shared some insight.

From 2019 to 2022 test scores plunged, and students lost more than half a year of learning. But while elementary and middle school students have made up significant ground since schools closed in 2020, they are nowhere near to being fully caught up.

In math, students have made up about a third of what they lost, and in reading, only about a quarter. And the gap between students from rich and poor communities, which was already large before the pandemic has widened even further.

On Tuesday's "Sound of Ideas," we're going to spend the hour exploring how the pandemic continues to impact student learning and behavior more than four years later, by talking to local teachers across the region, who are on the front lines of seeing post-pandemic learning, and who teach in communities that are underserved in the region.

We'll discuss learning loss, chronic absenteeism and other challenges they're seeing in the classroom. We will also talk about bright spots including where we are seeing gains and how students and families are persevering in these challenging times. And we'll highlight the teachers, staff and parents who are helping our region's young people.

-Saundra Kolar, Instructional Specialist, Akron Public Schools
-Shari Obrenski, President, Cleveland Teachers Union, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
-Kaila Phan, English Teacher, Lorain High School
-Robin Palmore, 3rd grade teacher, Bolton Elementary School, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
-Mike Davis, 8th Grade Teacher, Buckeye Junior High School

Rachel is the supervising producer for Ideastream Public Media’s morning public affairs show, the “Sound of Ideas.”