REPORT: Florida Saw Less Learning Gaps Than Lockdown States Due to In-Person Schooling

May 10, 2022 Updated 9:00 AM ET

Gov. Ron DeSantis signs law eliminating the FSA in St. Petersburg, March 15, 2022
Gov. Ron DeSantis signs law eliminating the FSA in St. Petersburg, March 15, 2022

May 10, 2022 Updated 9:00 A.M. ET

CAMBRIDGE (FLV) – The learning loss for students at high-poverty schools was not as high in Florida compared to other states because the Sunshine State remained largely in-person during the pandemic, according to a new study

The study found that high-poverty schools that were remote suffered large losses in achievement compared to states, like Florida, that kept their schools open during 2020-2021. 

“Interestingly, gaps in math achievement by race and school poverty did not widen in school districts in states such as Texas and Florida and elsewhere that remained largely in-person. Where schools remained in-person, gaps did not widen. Where schools shifted to remote learning, gaps widened sharply,” said Thomas Kane, an economist and Harvard Graduate School of Education professor. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida’s public schools would remain closed for the end of the 2019-2020 school year. However, the Florida Department of Education boldly became the first state to reopen schools for in-person instruction five days a week during the 2020-2021 school year. 

The study said in states like California, New Jersey, and Virginia, high-poverty schools had higher rates of remote instruction, therefore, leading to a larger gap in learning loss compared to low-poverty schools. 

High-poverty students had a smaller learning gap compared to their other peers in states like Florida and Texas because the states held in-person learning. 

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