Prayer #344: For the Students in Schools Across North Carolina Academically Affected by the COVID Closures
According to a new survey of public schools and charter schools in North Carolina, about one in five students in the state are at risk of failing their present grade in the 2020-21 school year. The data for the survey comes from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, which sought the data from the schools following a January request by the North Carolina Legislature. These data represent the first state-wide look at the longer-term effects of the pandemic on education here in North Carolina. Many education experts are very concerned that the closures necessitated by COVID-19 have created a "learning loss" that may require years for school districts and students to fully make up. "I think, just like everybody else in the nation, we know that when schools closed last March, that it was going to take more than just one academic year or two academic years for kids to catch up," Whitney Oakley, a chief academic officer for Guilford County Schools, said recently. "So it's not going to be something that we can fix just in the summer," he added. "It's going to be a long runway of identifying skill gaps. I think teachers and students and families did the very best they could during school closure and in remote learning. But nothing takes the place of consistent face-to-face learning, and that's true for most students."
According to the survey, approximately 323,000 of the nearly 1.5 million students in the state are at risk of failing. Wake County Public School System, the largest public school system in the state, reported 30,063 of its 157,673 students to be academically at risk, about 19%; the second-largest system. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, reported 47,942 students out of 138,884 at risk of failing, approximately 34.5%. The school systems with the highest at-risk-of-failing students, which exceed 40%, are Cherokee County Schools (56.9%), Franklin County (46.4%), Halifax County (41.2%), Northampton County (42.3%), Surry County (50.0%), Swain County (41.2%), and Watauga County (40.3%).
We want to be in much prayer for the public and charter schools across our state, as well as for Christian and private schools. Pray for students who are struggling academically, especially now due to a lack of in-person learning. Pray for wisdom for school district administrations and teachers as they seek to put together recovery plans over the coming months and years.
Ps. 10:12: "Arise, O LORD, O God, lift up Thy hand; forget not the afflicted."