Over at Hechinger Report, Brandon Cardet-Hernandez has an idea about how to "solve the education crisis"-- pay students to go to school. Well, specifically, pay 16-and-older students to attend after-school enrichment programs, extended "summer learning" and work study programs.
Cardet-Hernandez has knocked around education for a couple of decades. Currently he's the executive director of the Ivy Street School (a "therapeutic approach" school) and an appointed member of the Boston School Committee. He was the turnaround guy for a school in New York City as well as senior education advisor to Mayor Bill DeBlasio. During his four years as a special ed classroom teacher, he "developed a comprehensive, Common Core-aligned curriculum focused on History through an anti-oppression framework."
Despite all that, he loses me in his second paragraph when he cites Thomas Kane's notion that, "recent NAEP scores showed startling declines that could amount to as many as 22 weeks of learning loss." Anyone who claims they can measure learning in weeks or months or years or hectares or liters is just shoveling baloney. What they actually mean is "test scores are down," but you can't get people worked up about that.
But Cardet-Hernandez wants us to know that "we are not approaching a crisis, we are already in one." Spoiler alert: he's not going to actually define the crisis beyond "test scores are down." Also, "chronic absenteeism is on the rise" he notes, linking to an article whose actual headline is "Pandemic Causes Alarming Increase in Chronic Absence and Reveals Need for Better Data" on a website for a group created in 2016 to sound an alarm about school attendance.
Students' lives are different now, he notes, and so schools will have to do different things.We often talk about simply making up lost learning time, but it’s not that simple. Like lost sleep, lost learning time cannot be reclaimed — but we can chart a new course that will set students up for success.
If we want to tackle learning loss and absenteeism with the necessary level of response, we could also use ESSER funds to employ students in age-appropriate job positions at their schools and in their cities. Think lunch prep in a cafeteria or clerical work in an administrative office, for example.