From Idaho Stateman, December 21, 2021, by Terry Ryan.
The COVID-19 pandemic has depressed in historic fashion literacy results for elementary school children across the country. Performance on the iReady test administered nationally by Curriculum Associates showed, “compared to historical averages, fewer second and third graders were at grade level in reading (six and five percentage points lower, respectively), and many more students performed below grade level (nine and seven percentage points higher, respectively).”
The hit to Idaho’s youngest students hasn’t been as dramatic as it has in other states where school closures were longer and more pronounced than in the Gem State. Yet, only about half of Idaho’s kindergartners through third-graders were reading at grade level or better on the Idaho Reading indicator standardized test administered earlier this fall
The learning loss has been even more dramatic for poor and minority students. “Schools serving majority Black and Latino students saw almost double the amount of unfinished learning in third grade reading and math as schools serving majority white students,” Curriculum Associates reported.
In Idaho, the conversation around state funding for all-day kindergarten has never been more serious. Currently, we are one of only nine states that does not require school districts to offer any kind of kindergarten. But this may very well change in 2022.