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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

State Sen. DeWitte: "I believe the Governor’s forced lockdowns led to poor school results"

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State Senator Don DeWitte (R - St. Charles) blamed pandemic lockdowns set by Governor J.B. Pritzker for Illinois students' poor educational standing in an article published on his official website on Monday.

"This week, the Illinois School Board of Education released the 2021-2022 Illinois Report Card, which demonstrated the long-term learning loss that Illinois students incurred during the pandemic," DeWitte said. "Students fell behind in baseline performance in many categories compared to 2019 levels. I believe it was the Governor’s forced lockdowns and school closures that led to the poor results in our schools."

The 2022 Nation's Report Card reported that only 37.5% of Illinois 4th graders can perform math at or above grade-level proficiency, and only a third can read at their grade level. Furthermore, only 26.5% of the state's 8th graders can perform math at their grade level, and only 32.4% can read at their grade level. In addition, according to AP News, reading and math scores dropped nationwide.

The Nation's Report Card draws its conclusions from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is traditionally administered every two years. However, due to the pandemic, no report card was administered in 2021, so the latest test results prior to 2022 were from 2019. National Center for Education Statistics commissioner Peggy Carr said that the results are "a serious wakeup call for us all. In NAEP, when we experience a 1- or 2-point decline, we’re talking about it as a significant impact on a student’s achievement. In math, we experienced an 8-point decline — historic for this assessment.”

A report from UNICEF found that government-mandated lockdowns and school closures had negative impacts on children such as increased fear, stress, anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, a loss of learning and poor physical activity and sleeping habits.

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