Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., is demanding that Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona provide information on the reported learning losses of students created by school lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter Monday to Cardona obtained by Newsmax, Schmitt said research has shown test scores of 13-year-olds in math and reading have plummeted to their lowest levels since 1990 and 2004, respectively, and nearly half of high school seniors did not reach the benchmarks of college readiness and are not prepared to succeed in a postsecondary program.
“This poses serious problems for the landscape of the future workforce,” Schmitt wrote. “Simply put, lockdowns and mandates have failed our children.”
Although children were less likely than any other age group to catch and spread the coronavirus, federal and state governments — prompted by teachers’ unions — pushed for school lockdowns that forced children to isolate at home while learning remotely.
“Rather than support their students in a time of uncertainty, unions colluded with government entities and ultimately harmed our children’s future,” Schmitt wrote.
Schmitt requested that Cardona provide to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and the House Committee on Education and Workforce a plan to address the learning loss suffered during the pandemic and a report on how the more than $122 billion in federal funding allocated for education through the American Rescued Plan of 2021 was spent during the pandemic and how any remaining money will be spent.
Schmitt also called for a plan on hiring teachers “who will diligently carry out their responsibility of teaching the foundational building blocks of a well-rounded education” and a set of checks and balances on teachers’ unions.
Schmitt further requested a plan for how the Biden administration “is working to ensure no future lockdowns, mask mandates, etc. that harmed students’ learning from being implemented.”
“Parents, families, responsible educators, and lawmakers alike demand and deserve accountability in the classroom,” Schmitt wrote. “Parents entrust teachers with the responsibility of teaching their children math, reading, and history because education is paramount to supporting our communities’ continued growth and achievement. We must support our students and get their education back on track.”
Newsmax reached out to the Education Department for comment.
Michael Katz | firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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