Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Evidence Of Catastrophic Learning Loss From School Lockdowns Piles Up; 'Easy money': How One Pandemic Relief Program Became Fraudsters' Top Target, and other C-Virus related stories

Evidence Of Catastrophic Learning Loss From School Lockdowns Piles Up:
A new report documents that closing schools for months on end due to Covid scarred children’s learning — quite possibly for life.
In one sense, the recent press release from the Department of Education featuring the latest results from national achievement tests barely classifies as “news.” But that fact makes the report no less important because it further confirms what other studies in the past several years have revealed: Closing schools for months on end due to Covid scarred children’s learning — quite possibly for life.
This report analyzed outcomes for 13-year-olds on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — the “Nation’s Report Card.” And as with national tests for fourth and eighth graders, the results of which were released last September, students showed a dramatic drop in their aptitude in reading and mathematics.
Troubling Trend
The recent release reflects scores from this fall’s NAEP long-term trend assessment designed to examine how student performance evolves over time. While working to measure long-term trends, this test also quantified a short-term drop in achievement as test scores plummeted by a statistically significant four points in reading and nine points in math compared to pre-pandemic levels.
But sadly, the lockdown-related drop in student achievement, while the most dramatic, is far from the first. To echo Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises, test scores have fallen gradually, then suddenly. Over the past decade, scores have declined by a total of seven points in reading, and 14 points in math.
And as with the NAEP results released last September, the poorest-achieving students suffered the worst drop in test scores.
In reading, the highest-achieving 10 percent of students saw scores drop by three points since 2020, and four points since 2012. By contrast, the lowest-achieving 10 percent of students saw scores drop by seven points since 2020, and 12 points since 2012. --->READ MORE HERE
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images, FILE
'Easy money': How one pandemic relief program became fraudsters' top target:
More than 1/3 of EIDL funds were squandered on potential fraud, says a report.
The watchdog report released Tuesday that revealed how some $200 billion in COVID-19 aid was potentially misspent threw into sharper relief how one pandemic-era program emerged above all others as a magnet for fraudsters: the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, or EIDL.
Launched in March 2020, at the outset of the pandemic, EIDL was designed to distribute fast loans to help small businesses retain employees and stay on top of bills as the economy sputtered. By all accounts, it worked, rescuing jobs and businesses across the country.
But the program was also plagued by fraud. Of the $400 billion in taxpayer money doled out as part of EIDL, more than a third -- some $136 billion -- might have gone to fraudsters, according to the report published this week by Hannibal "Mike" Ware, the Small Business Administration's inspector general.
The sizeable figure seems to justify Ware's projection in a 2021 interview with ABC News that, "in terms of the monetary value, the amount of fraud in these COVID relief programs is going to be larger than any government program that came before it."
“It is a shockingly high level of potential fraud and one that should have been reduced greatly,” said Sean Moulton, a senior policy analyst at the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan government watchdog group.
All told, the federal government flooded the economy with some $5 trillion to support companies and individuals as the COVID-19 pandemic bore down on the country, including more than $1.2 billion specifically earmarked for small businesses. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Researchers investigate how COVID-19 has shaped our daydreams and nighttime dreams

COVID-19 hurt kids' math learning more than reading and writing – with the biggest setbacks in fall 2020

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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