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Education

'Astonishing' Numbers Show Dallas Students Struggling To Learn During Pandemic

 L.G. Pinkston High School, located in Oak cliff on a gloomy summer day.
Keren Carrión
/
KERA
L.G. Pinkston High School, located in Oak cliff on a gloomy summer day.

Dallas’ School Board of Trustees met on Thursday to reveal new numbers that show how the pandemic has impacted Dallas public school children from kindergarten through 12th grade.

COVID-19 has posed some hard challenges to North Texas educators. Dallas’ School Board of Trustees met on Thursday to reveal new numbers that show how the pandemic has impacted Dallas K-12 public school children.

Of the more than 150,000 students in DISD, half of them have fallen behind in math.

“The learning losses here are devastating. To see this level of decline especially in math is astonishing frankly,” said Dustin Marshall, a school board member representing North and Near East Dallas. “I would think of it as kind of the worst case scenario that could have happened.”

The data also showed that 30% of Dallas students are struggling in reading. This assessment was made using the tool MAP, or the Measure of Academic Progress, a computerized adaptive test.

DISD board members want to get to the root of the problem and address it head on. At the meeting, they discussed ways to help teachers improve learning for all students.

Board member Joyce Forman made the point that learning online full time or learning through a hybrid schedule just does not work. She called this significant loss of learning the "COVID-slide."

“While we sit around the horseshoe and talk about what is best, I think we really need to be having more conversations with those people who are at the frontline on a day to day basis,” said Foreman, who represents Southwest Dallas.

The board is looking at options such as getting suggestions from the parents, improving attendance or engaging students through personalized learning. They hope to improve the scores for the remainder of this school year.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the economic impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @_martinez_ale.

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