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Update to AZ's Education Progress Meter fuels concerns over learning loss​

School, education
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 15:44:55-05

PHOENIX — We're getting a better idea of the struggles some students and teachers are facing in the classroom.

Learning loss has been a big issue throughout the pandemic and the latest numbers are only fueling those concerns.

"There is a learning lapse of approximately two years," said Catherine Barrett, who is a master high school teacher in Phoenix. "I’m seeing that in my students, I’m hearing it from my parents because I make nightly phone calls home,"

Barrett says getting students back up to grade level and keeping them there is only adding to a growing list of responsibilities for educators across the state.

"We are juggling, and our job is evolving and we’re making it work with the mix that we’re given," she said.

Barrett is not the only one helping students catch up.

New numbers released by Education Forward Arizona this month show an 11% drop in 3rd grade reading proficiency compared to 2018.

There is a 14% drop in 8th grade math and just 17% of Arizona's 3- and 4-year-olds are taking part in quality early learning, down from 24% three years ago.

The Education Progress Meter also shows high school graduation and post-high school enrollment rates are also down.

Many districts are now looking at how they can use COVID-19 relief funds to help bridge the learning gaps.

Also, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey in his State of the State address Monday announced a new summer program to help support students who may have fallen behind during the pandemic.