This week, former COVID mitigation mouthpiece of the Trump administration, Anthony Fauci, sat for a two-day closed-door interview with members of Congress to discuss various aspects of his role in the government’s COVID response. While the discussions were behind closed doors and the most famous doctor in the world has remained mum on what was said, word has spread about what Mr. Fauci did or, perhaps better put, didn’t own up to in the conversations.
The man who insisted the American public “follow the science” and even went so far as to try to claim his own embodiment of the study of all things in our universe allegedly isn’t convinced that there were adverse effects on students due to his proposed recommendations. It’s not as if there have been oodles of scientific data that have come out in the last two years to support this claim that America’s youth paid a hefty price for the failed COVID policies inspired by folks like Mr. Fauci.
Just as the American Federation of Teachers union boss Randi Weingarten has attempted to rewrite history, so is Doctor Anthony Fauci. But will parents forget what his “recommendations” did to their children?
Trust the science
During a two day interview with the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci allegedly claimed that there isn’t evidence to show that COVID-inspired school closures and polices adversely affected the education of American children.
Congressman Michael Cloud told reporters that Mr. Fauci:
“…says he’s still not convinced that there was learning loss – that in his view, that’s still really up for discussion.”
It would appear his original tactic of claiming he was just the advisor, not a decision maker, which absolves him of any responsibility, is still his primary strategy.
Last year, he told The New York Times:
“Show me a school that I shut down and show me a factory that I shut down. Never. I never did. I gave a public health recommendation that echoed the CDC’s recommendation, and people made a decision based on that.”
Congressman Cloud said of Mr. Fauci that he showed:
“…an amazing ability to either forget what happened or then to find ways to shirk any sort of responsibility for the influence that was had.”
The congressman went on to say about individuals like Mr. Fauci:
“They wash their hands of any sort of responsibility, saying, ‘Oh, those decisions were made by school districts.’”
Decisions based on his recommendations, because what the federal government recommends particularly regarding health, safety, and education public and education administrators know they should heed or risk opening themselves up for costly litigation.
What does the data say?
It would be surprising that someone who claims to be a man of science would disregard empirical data. The data since the pandemic clearly shows that the recommendations made by Dr. Fauci and, by extension, the federal government, had a massively negative impact on American students.
Math and reading scores for 13-year-olds, which for the non-parents out there are 8th graders, fell to the lowest point in decades. If that isn’t proof enough, the Program for International Student Assessments reported that 15-year-olds’ (freshmen/sophomores) math scores plummeted compared to pre-pandemic exams.
The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) released a report stating it would take the average student an extra four to five months of school to get caught up in math and reading. The lead researcher for NWEA Chase Nordengren said it will take decades to get the American student body caught up.
It’s more than tests
While it’s sad enough that America’s most vulnerable yet most resilient against COVID were some of the most negatively impacted by the policies pushed by Mr. Fauci, the second, third, and fourth order of effects are much worse. Even The New York Times has changed its tune on school closures, admitting recently in an article:
“The school closures that took 50 million children out of classrooms at the start of the pandemic may prove to be the most damaging disruptions to the history of American education.”
Not only are these children falling behind in every test in every subject, but their futures are less bright than before. Economists predict that America’s school-age children today will experience an estimated 6% lifetime tax on earnings.
As if that’s not depressing enough, it’s even worse when you compare a 6% lifetime earnings tax for an entire generation of Americans to the United States economy as a whole. The U.S. economy is estimated to feel a $28 trillion future economic loss due to a lower-skilled workforce when these children graduate high school.
That number can be difficult to fathom, so let me put it into perspective. The economic fallout from COVID business closures is clocked at about $2 trillion, and the 2008 “Great Recession” economic fallout was reported at around $5 trillion.
Finally, $28 trillion equals about one year of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – every single thing made in this country during a year.
Up for discussion
Anthony Fauci is right technically that the learning loss afflicted by his ill-advised recommendations is still up for discussion. It’s unclear just how badly the nation will suffer thanks to the unwavering trust the federal government put in the words of one man.
The future doctors, scientists, teachers, architects, dentists, lawyers, electricians, and leaders of America will come from the lost COVID-19 generation. Someday, you will have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist who spent their formative educational years locked up at home with subpar test scores to boot.
Not a welcoming thought for sure, but one we must never forget. It’s vitally important that these unelected and undeserving masters of influential gain are held accountable for their actions.
Finally, parents must not wait for the federal or state governments to solve the learning loss epidemic. If COVID taught us anything, it’s that the government does not know best how to manage children and education.
Take ownership of your child’s education; it’ll be worth it, and it isn’t just your natural right as a parent but your solemn duty.
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