The New York Times published an excellent article on Covid and learning loss. While there is lots to be learned about the correlation between school closures and learning (it might not be what you think), I thought the most important take-aways for parents are as follows:
-Students in acutely-affected communities are up to 1.5 years behind and remain behind in reading and math. -The measures employed to help students catch up are grossly insufficient. -Parents do not know the scope of the problem.
As a professor, I've seen this in my classroom all year. I've had students who struggle to understand high-school level texts. Others have never been taught the basics of academic writing. My students tell me that many of them did not have exams for two years in high school. Some of them were expected to write, but they got As on everything they turned in. Yet, we are expected to teach the same skills as if our students are the same as they were four years ago. The science of reading has been a gift to me and my students, because I learned to remediate reading comprehension and writing. But many teachers, from k-12 to undergrad, do not know how to teach decoding to middle school or high schoolers, or the basics of writing to college students.
Parents and teachers need to advocate for the resources to close the learning gap---and administrators need to stop pretending that we can just conduct business as usual.