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California Officials Attempt to Lull the Public, Claim L.A. Students Did Well in School Closures

Anyone who lives near or in Southern California and saw Tuesday's Wall Street Journal headline, “How Los Angeles Avoided National Academic Plunge During Pandemic,” probably thought it was a joke.

California was the site of one of the most prolonged closures for schools in the United States during the COVID pandemic. The devastating impact on children is still being felt. State officials, and inexplicably The Journal, is trying to trick you into thinking that California did just fine. According to The Journal:

Test scores from the Education Department showed that fourth- and eighth-grade students struggled in every state. But amid a national plunge in math and reading scores on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Los Angeles Unified School District stood out, recording higher scores in three of the four categories.

Officials from governor Gavin Newsom on down are at present, shockingly, spouting about their accomplishments despite the destruction they caused.

“The data was so good,” said Los Angeles Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, referring to his district’s results. “It bodes very well for our L.A., and is really a testament to our strategy.”

What?!

The article provides a variety of test results for students that demonstrate how stunningly and amazingly the students did. “We should have another pandemic and close schools down again!” they almost appear to say.

Let's look at some of the numbers:

Los Angeles students scored 257 out of a possible 500 points in the category of eighth-grade reading, representing an increase of nine points. It was the only significant gain shown in the federal analysis of state and city scores. Nationwide, public schools’ scores fell three points on that portion of the exam, to an average of 259.

What does that mean? The numbers for Los Angeles went up nine points, while the national average decreased by three points, but nonetheless, Los Angeles is far below the other states. Amazing! A New York Times headline on Tuesday gave the truth:

California Students Have Dismally Low Math and Reading Test Scores

While California’s scores remain low, they dropped less than those in other states between 2019 and 2022.

However, even those “dropped less than those in other states” numbers are not reliable:

California Governor Gavin Newsom was quick to issue a press release on Sunday, with the absurd headline “California Outperforms Most States in Minimizing Learning Loss.” What he and a lot of California officials fail to acknowledge is the human price. Perhaps student test scores jumped up or down, however the psychological harm that the lockdowns caused is incalculable.

Who's taking the test? Fifty thousand LA students didn't attend this August when schools began to open. The LAUSD Superintendent tweeted “We will be scouring our community, in advance of the first day of school, to connect with the lost children of LA. L.A. Unified estimates tens of thousands of students are missing from back-to-school rosters. @LASchools”

Los Angeles psychiatrist and author of United States of Fear and Freedom From Fear, Dr. Mark McDonald, vehemently disapproved of Newsom on Substack on Thursday:

He [Newsom] praised the very policies he enacted that destroyed the lives of the state’s children: “California focused on keeping kids safe during the pandemic while making record investments to mitigate learning loss and transforming our education system.” Everything he wrote was a lie.

The truth is that his policies only helped one constituency, and not the underage one that cannot vote. School closures were enacted to benefit the California Teacher’s Union, the largest donor to the Democrat party and Newsom, and the most powerful political force in the state. [Emphasis mine.]

Most California parents would agree that the lengthy school closures were disastrous and many students suffered huge losses. One or two test scores will not alter that. McDonald:

Newsom paid the state’s teachers to take a two-year vacation while the children languished at home, playing video games and experimenting with fentanyl. Many committed suicide. One of my 15-year-old patients in Santa Monica died at home of a drug overdose in the middle of the closures. “Safer at Home” was a lie. Newsom lied and children died. And as this year’s NAEP report shows, so went the nation.

I’ve written extensively on the psychological and emotional harm done to children by the failure of adults to responsibly tend to their own anxiety, and their cowardly compliance with tyrannical mandates issued by narcissist autocrats like Newsom, who kept his own children in private schools, maskless, throughout the pandemic. This recently released national academic progress report confirms the unprecedented loss of learning among those who relied on adults to represent their interests. We failed them. 

When the people who put in place school closures, lockdowns, and mandates are now pretending that it never happened, and people like CNN's Jake Tapper say we should have had a national discussion, but the people who were there know what really happened. We should never let them forget what they did.

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