April 24, 2021

Stephen Merrill: Too Much Focus On “Learning Loss” Will Be A Historic Mistake

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Stephen Merill is the chief content officer at Edutopia, the education site launched by George Lucas. In a recent post, Merrill addresses the issue of “learning loss,” noting “Learning loss is real and needs to be addressed, but how we go about it should be commensurate with the size of the moment.” It’s a thoughtful piece that leads to this hard-hitting conclusion.

The last 12 months have been a furious, unrelenting assault on the senses. In March of 2020, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the in-person school year was first suspended, and then abruptly canceled. Many children from historically marginalized communities simply failed to appear online, their absence pointing to enduring, systemic inequities in our school systems. Only a few months later, as our collective sense of dislocation grew increasingly taut and unbearable, George Floyd was killed in Minnesota, setting off months of some of the largest protests in U.S. history.

Maybe it’s time to consider that the emerging science of learning and our national reckoning with unfairness and inequity are pointing in the same direction. Perhaps the size of the moment requires a commensurate response. We have a better sense of the tools we need to do the job, and a clearer sense of the size and nature of the problems.

Can we—should we, in the aftermath of the clarifying events of the last year—find the will to challenge the testing regime, return some agency to both our teachers and our students, bring the science of learning into our classrooms, and honor all children with challenging, engaging work that ushers in a new, better, fairer era in education?

There are more important things to address than a need for more test-generated data. You can read the whole post here.

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