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School Shutdowns Were a Catastrophe

America’s response to the covid epidemic was a scandal. On a best-case interpretation, America sacrificed its children to benefit the extremely elderly and the very sick. Even if such a strategy had worked–which it didn’t–it would be a grotesque and arguably evil policy choice.

One of the worst things we did to our children was to shut down the public schools, generally at the demand of teachers’ unions. “Remote learning” was largely a joke, and across the country millions of students checked out and didn’t return. Of course, they were mostly the kids who have the fewest family resources and therefore need school the most. Objective testing indicates that when schools went remote, student achievement fell off a cliff.

Six scholars from Harvard have issued a new report that seeks to quantify the remote learning debacle. It notes that the extent of shutdown varied widely from state to state. There was

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