by Joe Calabrese, Director of Communications and Development, TCA
The challenge of just getting to school, both nationally and locally, has dominated headlines as children returned to the classroom this month. But busing is not the only challenge students face in returning to a normal school day experience.
An issue brief published by the Kaiser Family Foundation outlines the myriad of health issues children have been dealing with in absence of a full school day experience. The brief found:
These physical and mental health challenges are just part of what a growing body of evidence shows students have missed without the daily interactions of a normal school day.
Locally, ROC the Future has published an overview entitled “Emotional and Educational Recovery” which quantifies the education losses of RCSD students during the pandemic. Some of their key findings were:
Clearly, the stunning education losses children have felt and the losses in health and mental health supports are palpable consequences of the lingering pandemic. We’re even starting to see studies showing the pandemic’s deleterious impact on the cognitive abilities of infants and toddlers.
ROC the Future’s overview responds to all of this by stating, “Simply ‘going back to normal’ will not be sufficient.”
The Children’s Agenda wholeheartedly agrees. Without acknowledging the staggering losses children have felt during their time away from the classroom, their teachers, their providers, and their friends…. Without identifying the individual needs of students through comprehensive assessments in each class and each school…. And without developing clear, culturally relevant and sensitive plans to address these needs…. We risk a broken future ahead, not just a difficult time behind us.