Special Report: U.S. school closures dramatically shrinking public education, Reuters finds
Jennifer Panditaratne’s third-grade daughter had been seeing a reading specialist once a week before her Florida school closed abruptly in March due to the novel coronavirus.
Since then, her child has had no contact with the specialist. Panditaratne is left to download her daughter’s special education material and sit with her as she does her school work—in between her own calls as a maritime lawyer in South Florida.
“Is it the same material? Sure,” she said. “But is it being administered by a professional who knows what they are doing? No.”
More than two months after schools across the United States began closing in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the shutdown is taking a profound toll on the nation’s system of education, Reuters found by surveying nearly 60 school districts serving some 2.8 million students.
Almost overnight, public education in the United States has shrunk to a shell of its former self, the review found, with teacher instruction, grading, attendance, special education and meal services for hungry children slashed back or gutted altogether.
The survey encompassed school districts from large urban communities, such as Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Houston Independent School District, to the smallest rural settings, including San Jon Municipal Schools in eastern New Mexico and Park County School District 6 in Cody, Wyoming. The survey reflects what is happening only in those districts that responded.
2 June 2020