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The National Assessment of Educational Progress has just reported steep drops in student achievement at the nation’s public schools. How will parents respond to the news? Is the downward trend in private education enrollments about to be reversed?

Before COVID-19, private school enrollments were headed downhill. Between 1964 and 2019, the percentage of students attending private schools fell from 14 percent to 9 percent of all school-age children, an all-time low.

According to the just released National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the nation’s report card, 9-year-old students suffered over the past two years the worst declines in student achievement in math and reading in over half a century. What’s worse, the lowest performing ones suffered the most serious shortfalls.

Continue reading at USAToday.com.

History is happening this moment. A country is defining itself. Authentic, inspiring patriotism is surging through the Ukrainian people. Whatever happens next, President Volodymyr Zelensky personifies patriotism, honor, courage, dedication. If Ukraine survives as an independent nation, as the U. S. Secretary of State promises, 2022 will ring for decades, probably centuries, as Ukraine’s greatest historical moment.

As Covid enters its Omicron phase, common sense is beginning to creep in. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have cut quarantine time to five days from ten days not because new research has suddenly produced a new magic number but because a ten-day interval is disrupting the country’s transport systems, restaurants, health provider networks, and economy as a whole.

We need new rules for the new omicron variant of COVID-19 to have a happy, normal school year in 2022. The new rules should be much the same as those my mom’s generation followed many years ago. Here are six key ones:

Betsy DeVos must be quietly enjoying her retirement from public office. After resigning in protest against presidential actions during the closing days of the Trump Administration, she is beginning to see the fruits of her steady advocacy of school choice throughout her term in office. When she took office in 2017, public support for choice had been in the doldrums.Throughout the latter years of the Obama administration choice support drifted downward, as can be seen in the graph from EdChoice polling shown below.

President Biden wants credit for opening up the nation’s schools within 100 days of taking office. Yet over a third of U.S. students still aren’t going to a classroom every day. Many urban districts open their doors only to young children or for just two days a week, and scare talk dissuades numerous parents from sending their kids.

Nothing in the historical record has disrupted American schools quite like Covid-19. Millions of students will lose more than a year of classroom instruction. Only the most hopeful think schools will return to normalcy before next September. An entire generation can expect a drop in lifetime earnings of 5% to 10%, economists tell us. Even worse, social and emotional development have been stunted. Schools no longer provide eye and ear exams, nurse office visits, and ready access to social services. Children from low-income backgrounds are suffering the most.

In September we released an article on the Education Next website titled “Charter Schools Show Steeper Upward Trend in Student Achievement than District Schools.” Using a sample of more than four million test performances, it compares the progress made by cohorts of charter and district school students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) from 2005 to 2017. Overall, students at charters are advancing at a faster pace than those at district schools. The strides made by African-American charter students have been particularly impressive.

The War on Poverty drags on. President Trump’s budget proposes heavy cuts in domestic spending, but not to compensatory-education programs, which aim to lift the achievement levels of disadvantaged students. Since 1980 the federal government has spent almost $500 billion (in 2017 dollars) on compensatory education and another $250 billion on Head Start programs for low-income preschoolers. Forty-five states, acting under court orders, threats or settlements, have directed money specifically to their neediest districts. How much have these efforts helped?