Can Kids Recover From Covid Learning Losses?

This Op-Ed was originally published by The New York Times.

Can Kids Recover From Covid Learning Losses?

By: William Crain
May 23, 2023

To the Editor:

Re “Parents Don’t Understand How Far Behind Their Kids Are,” by Tom Kane and Sean Reardon (Opinion guest essay, May 14):

Professors Kane and Reardon document how the pandemic produced sharp declines in test scores, which were especially precipitous in low-income and predominantly minority communities. But the writers’ solution, to significantly extend instruction into weekends, after-school hours and summer vacations, is problematic.

Children already experience much of their academic instruction as mind-numbing — especially that which is designed to raise standardized test scores. To add more of it is likely to further reduce their enthusiasm for learning, as well as the happiness they find in their free time.

At a time of high rates of childhood depression and anxiety, our society must pay far more attention to children’s feelings toward learning and their enjoyment of life.

William Crain
New York
The writer is professor emeritus of psychology at the City College of New York.