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How to Reverse Pandemic-Related Learning Losses

Finding the Best Teachers for Post-Pandemic Schools

by Eric Hanushek

By far the largest economic costs of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. will come from shortfalls in student learning from school closures, inferior hybrid and remote instruction, and the general disruption of normal schooling. The best estimates place learning losses at the equivalent of a year or more of schooling, resulting in 6% to 9% lower lifetime earnings for the average student and much more for disadvantaged students. The country as a whole will face a less well-prepared workforce, with enormous cumulative losses to GDP over the coming decades.

Primary and secondary schools are now struggling to return as much as possible to where they were in March 2020. But the learning losses will be permanent if we just restore the pre-existing schools. The biggest problem of education during the pandemic has been depriving students of the full abilities of their most effective teachers, and recovery from the damage of these years can only come from an expanded role for these teachers.

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