In the fall of 2020, forty-nine percent of third-graders in Connecticut will be below grade level in reading and math. This is higher than historically, but it is still a troubling trend. The reasons for the high level of chronic absenteeism are as complicated as they are universal. According to one study, students who are chronically absent are unsatisfied and emotionally unstable. Moreover, they are less likely to succeed academically. This is a stark reminder to educators, legislators, and school board members that it is critical to do something about the state’s lagging third-grader performance.
Educators are grappling with the problems associated with standardized testing. In a recent article in NEA Today, special educator Shelly Dunham argued that many teachers feel forced to teach to standardized tests, and lunch and recess have been cut in favor of academics. This is not only ineffective, but it also leaves low-income and minority students falling through the cracks and not receiving the education they deserve.
Ensure that all students reach their full potential. While education has always been a hot topic, ensuring that all students are achieving their full potential has been of particular concern. In 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act was implemented in an attempt to close the achievement gap and address the problems associated with remote learning. However, in 2021, teachers will need to ensure educational equity for all students. These challenges are not new to educators and should not be ignored.