As the old saying goes, where there is smoke, there is fire.
As Americans for Fair Treatment pointed out, data from The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) demonstrated that the longer period of time that a school district was closed to in-person classes, the worse students performed in basic mathematics and reading skills. In cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City, whose school districts pushed remote or virtual classes, less than 60% of students could do basic math skills on the performance tests.
What do these cities have in common?
These cities have strong teachers’ union influences, either from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) or National Education Association (NEA).
The NAEP scores compared 2019 math and reading scores with 2022 scores on the same subjects, as the test was not administered during the coronavirus pandemic.
Here is a basic breakdown of the skill decline of students in the aforementioned cities:
- Los Angeles: Basic math achievement scores dropped 7%, while proficient skills were stagnant at 20%
- Chicago: Basic math achievement scores dropped double-digits to the tune of 13%, with an 11% drop in proficient math skills
- Philadelphia: Basic math achievement scores plummeted 11% from 52% in 2019 to 41% in 2022
- New York City: Basic and proficient math achievement scores fell by 9%, down to 60% for basic math and 23% for proficient math
But compare these scores to not-heavily-unionized school districts, like Florida. In the Tampa area, the county school district of Hillsborough County scored much higher than the major cities. For example, the basic math achievement level was at 81% and 40% for the proficient math achievement level.
The data does not lie: students in school districts in large, unionized cities like New York City performed far worse than their counterparts in other districts which emphasized normal, in-person classes over remote or virtual classes.