A new study estimates that nearly half of public school teachers had at least one student who was registered but never showed up for class during the 2020-21 school year. That amounts to more than one million students "unaccounted for."
Experts say the Covid-19 pandemic affected the US public school system in many detrimental ways: children suffered significant learning losses as some K-12 schools were shut down to in-person learning for close to a year.
As part of the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, the General Accounting Office (GAO) was tasked with ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts pertaining to Covid-19.
In order to better understand the impact of Covid-19 on public K-12 education, GAO contracted with Gallup to conduct a nationally representative survey of public school teachers about their experiences during the 2020-21 school year on a variety of topics.
The following are excerpts from the study highlighting some key findings:
We estimate that nearly half (48 percent) of public elementary and secondary school teachers nationwide had at least one student who was registered but never showed up for class during the 2020-21 school year, according to our teacher survey.
Of these teachers, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) said this was more than in a typical year (see fig. 1). Based on these data, we estimate that at least 1.1 million students were unaccounted for in the 2020-21 school year.
Teachers reported having students who never showed up for class regardless of the instructional model—that is, whether classes were conducted virtually, in-person, or using some combination of the two (hybrid)—although teachers who conducted class in the virtual environment for most of the school year more commonly reported having students who never showed up.
High school teachers were the most affected, with almost an estimated two-thirds (65 percent) having at least one student who never showed up, compared to less than half of teachers in grades 3 to 8 (45 percent) or kindergarten to grade 2 (31 percent) (see fig. 2).
Students who never showed up for class in school year 2020-21 primarily came from majority non-white and urban schools.
Link to full report here
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