President Joe Biden continues to blame everyone but himself for the fact that much of American life is demonstrably worse since he took office. Florida first lady Casey DeSantis is not having it.
The dust-up began Tuesday when Biden touted his inflation-feeding $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to try to get lagging students back on track.
“Due to the pandemic, kids are behind in math and reading. We know how to help bridge this gap,” Biden tweeted on Tuesday.
“I’m calling on schools to use American Rescue Plan funds to expand tutoring, summer learning and afterschool programs and to provide 250,000 more tutors and mentors for our kids.”
DeSantis subsequently reminded the Democratic president how exactly these kids fell behind.
“The latest ‘report’ from the Biden administration ignores the real reason for the catastrophic learning loss: Democrat lockdowns,” DeSantis tweeted.
“While other states were locking people down, in Florida @RonDeSantisFL lifted people up – kids were in school, in person.”
To underscore that point, Harvard University education researcher Thomas Kane released a report in May that looked at the difference between schools that went remote and those that returned in person.
“It seems that the shifts to remote or hybrid instruction during 2020-21 had profound consequences for student achievement. In districts that went remote, achievement growth was lower for all subgroups, but especially for students attending high-poverty schools,” Kane noted.
“In areas that remained in person, there were still modest losses in achievement, but there was no widening of gaps between high and low-poverty schools in math (and less widening in reading).”
Although the mix included a couple of blue states, the states that returned to the classroom more quickly were predominantly red, including Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.
On the other hand, those that remained remote longer, and suffered accordingly, were predominantly blue, such as California, New Jersey, Illinois, New Mexico, Maryland, Virginia, Oregon, and Washington.
In a May interview about the study, Kane told the Harvard Gazette, “Shifting to remote instruction was like turning a switch on a critical piece of our social infrastructure that we had taken for granted.”
“We found that districts that spent more weeks in remote instruction lost more ground than districts that returned to in-person instruction sooner.”
And almost anticipating Biden’s tweet, Kane noted that the learning gap, especially among schools in blue-state, high-poverty schools was so vast that “a district could provide a high-quality tutor to every single one of the students in a high-poverty school and still not expect to make up the decline.”