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Pandemic learning loss shows need for school choice

The Story

The COVID pandemic has made the need for school choice more evident than ever. For tens of thousands of Minnesota public school children — especially in the metro — distance learning is their only option. Kindergartners learning to read, students with disabilities, a high schooler struggling through algebra — there is no other option. My son, who can’t do distance learning because of an intellectual disability, went seven months without any schooling at the beginning of the pandemic. That’s three summers. Even before the pandemic, schools were failing Black children like my son: 66% of white students in Minnesota were proficient in reading. For Black students it was 34%. In math the gap was even larger – 64% of white students were proficient compared with 26% of Black students.