New federal data confirms pandemic’s blow to K-12 enrollment, with drop of 1.5 million students; pre-K experiences 22 percent decline
Data released last month revealed a startling decline in the number of American children attending public schools: Total K-12 enrollment dropped by roughly 3 percent in 2020-21 compared with the previous school year. The overall number obscures an even more dramatic drop among the youngest children. According to the data circulated by the National Center for...
By Kevin Mahnken | July 13, 2021
Research from Europe points to online tutoring as a potent weapon against learning loss
During the early days of the pandemic, with students around the world shut out of school buildings and many struggling to succeed in virtual classrooms, academics and philanthropies in several countries embraced a novel solution: online tutoring. In recent months, the first research studies on those initial efforts — one based in the United Kingdom,...
By Kevin Mahnken | June 14, 2021
NAEP science scores down for fourth-graders, flat for older students; are reading challenges to blame?
Tuesday’s announcement of science scores from the 2019 round of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) provides more evidence for two ugly trends in the test often referred to as the nation’s report card. As with other results from the past few years — including assessments in social studies last year and the core subjects...
By Kevin Mahnken | May 26, 2021
Report: New summer learning initiative, launched last year as a 5-week pilot for nearly 12,000 students, shows promise for improving online instruction
An ambitious pilot aimed at improving virtual learning last summer has earned high marks from participants, according to a new report. The program, which has since been reconstituted as an ongoing nonprofit enterprise, was rated in surveys as both engaging to students and beneficial in improving teacher performance. Evidence of its academic impact is still...
By Kevin Mahnken | May 11, 2021
FAFSA applications fell after COVID — and for many incoming freshmen, they haven’t recovered
New research from California shows a sizable decline in applications for university financial aid during the first phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. The trend among first-year college students has not reversed itself, the data show, and declines are particularly acute in low-income neighborhoods and those with higher minority populations. Financial aid applications are a useful...
By Kevin Mahnken | March 16, 2021
Study: Chicago tutoring program delivered huge math gains; personalization may be the key
A year after mayors and governors announced the first school closures related to COVID-19, many have turned to personalized tutoring to cope with disruptions to learning. Families that could afford to hire private instructors began doing so even before the 2020-21 school year began, while governments in Europe launched full-fledged programs to work with thousands...
By Kevin Mahnken | March 11, 2021
After year of ‘peril’ for democracy, scholars release new framework for history and civics in schools
2020 was the year that U.S. history, and clashing perspectives on it from left and right, became a campaign issue. First, President Trump and his fellow Republicans attacked the New York Times’s controversial 1619 Project, accusing its authors of dishonestly tearing down American ideals in a history curriculum that has been adopted in thousands of...
By Kevin Mahnken | March 3, 2021
Research shows students benefiting from arts field trips, but will they recede after COVID?
Parents have worried all year that arts education will be among the casualties claimed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting pressures on local school budgets. Depending on how long districts are forced to cut programs, fire or reassign staff, and cope with remote learning, some advocates warn, little money or instructional time could be...
By Kevin Mahnken | January 6, 2021
Research shows changing schools can make or break a student, but the wave of post-COVID mobility may challenge the systems in ways we’ve never seen
The closing months of 2020 have brought little certainty to the question of when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. Through the beginning of a new school year, the drawn-out climax of a disputed election, and even the development of three separate vaccines, coronavirus infections and deaths have surged in a frightening second wave that has...
By Kevin Mahnken | December 28, 2020
16 charts that changed the way we looked at America’s schools in a year unlike any other
Never before has the American education system been put under a microscope — sometimes literally — the way it was in 2020. That’s because COVID-19 illustrated just how much about schools we take for granted. Education research examines all kinds of things that take place inside the walls of schools, from science lessons and gym...
By Kevin Mahnken | December 17, 2020