'Parents are powerless': Students face being held back after a year of remote learning
April 26, 2021
Pandemic-related learning loss means some parents are weighing whether their children should repeat a grade. In 18 states, they won’t have a choice.
David Scruggs Jr. has spent most of the pandemic at his second-grade son’s side, helping him with virtual learning as their Nashville, Tenn., home became a schoolhouse as well as his office. In the next room, Scruggs’ wife, Dorothy, sat beside their first-grade daughter, a mirror image on the other side of the wall, doing the same while holding down her own job.
For a year, the Scruggs worked to keep their kids from falling behind as the pandemic forced children to stay home and America’s education system struggled to adjust. The family installed a whiteboard and baby pink desk next to their TV. The coffee table became a receptacle for homework, folders and laminated multiplication tables.
Now, the Scruggs and thousands of families like them in Tennessee and more than a dozen other states face a reckoning with how well they succeeded in their new role as substitute teachers. In the coming months, under a new, stricter state policy, if their son doesn’t do well enough on a standardized reading test next year, he could be forced to repeat a grade.