Virginia schools face major learning gaps caused by pandemic closures, new report says

Virginia's Governor is sounding the alarms after a disturbing new report revealed that the Commonwealth is facing major learning gaps following the pandemic.

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Governor Glenn Youngkin Thursday unveiled a 33-page report from Virginia’s Board of Education. It paints a grim picture, which Youngkin says demonstrates an urgent need for change. For example, only 38% of 4th graders, and 33% of 8th graders were proficient in reading. The report claims that closing classrooms during the pandemic was a major factor in the learning loss.

"The extended closure of schools to in person learning, well beyond anything that was necessary has had a detrimental effect on our children and a lasting impact on our children and we’re seeing it show up in multiple ways," said Gov. Youngkin.

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Virginia's Secretary of Education pointed out how serious the issue is. "The bottom line as the governor noted is the fact we have 4th and 8th grade reading scores that are below the benchmark even for their grade," said Jillian Balow.

To make up for the lost learning, the Governor announced a new effort Thursday that will focus on seven key principles. They include raising standards, improving transparency and empowering students and teachers. The effort also features individualized programs for Virginia's at-risk students and higher standards for all students. 

Parents told FOX 5's Tom Fitzgerald they believe the pandemic learning loss needs to be fixed.

"I think the education system has being going downhill all along, we’re dumbing down the system," said one unidentified parent.


The secretary of education is stressing the report is not an indictment of our teachers, principals, and other school leaders, who she said have worked tirelessly over the last few years under extraordinary conditions and circumstances.