the federalist

Democrats’ Gaslighting About Covid School Closures Won’t Work Because We Have Receipts

In a recent debate between Florida’s gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Charlie Crist attempted to smear incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as the “shutdown guy” in reference to his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Never mind that it’s governors from Crist’s own party who still haven’t ended their Covid-19 states of emergency, while DeSantis reopened Florida a full two years ago.

One of the most disastrous consequences of lockdowns was the drop in students’ educational competence — and, as an analysis from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows, the denial of in-person learning to students was concentrated in Democrat-run states. NBER ranked each state and the District of Columbia based on the percentage of the 2020-2021 school year that took place in person. Republican states — including Florida — had the highest percentages of in-person school learning.

Among the top 20 states with the highest in-person school ranking, 19 of the states have Republican governors. This includes Wyoming, which ranks at No. 1 with 100 percent in-person learning during the 2020-2021 school year. Florida ranked at No. 3 with 96.2 percent in-person schooling that academic year, refuting Crist’s absurd claim that DeSantis was the “shutdown guy.”

Reminder: A National Bureau of Economic Research analysis showed that 19 of the top 20 states for getting kids back to in-person schooling during the 2020-2021 school year were led by Republicans.

— Tommy Pigott (@TommyPigott) October 25, 2022

On the other hand, the 20 states with the lowest amount of in-person schooling during the 2020-2021 academic year were almost all governed by Democrats, with the exception of Massachusetts and Maryland. The two worst-performing areas — California and the District of Columbia — had a mere 19.2 percent and 5.8 percent in-person learning, respectively.

How did the lack of in-person school affect students’ learning? “More often students in districts that struggled before the pandemic and had some of the most stringent lockdowns had some of the worst learning loss,” The Wall Street Journal explained.

As the Journal noted, the latest National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) scores, known as the nation’s report card, show the mathematics score average for fourth graders in Detroit since 2019 has fallen “12 points to 194—20 points below basic mastery of fundamentals.” A local Michigan report described the NAEP scores for the state as a whole as the “‘clearest picture yet’ of the effects disruption during COVID-19 had on children.” Michigan held in-person learning for just over half (55.4 percent) of the 2020-2021 school year, according to NBER.

How do these numbers compare to Florida’s test scores? While the average fourth-grade math scores declined for three districts in the Sunshine State, these districts “remained above basic mastery of math fundamentals in 2022”– the mastery that Democratic lockdown hotspots like Detroit did not achieve.

Despite the obvious bad faith of his tactic, Crist isn’t the first of the pro-lockdown leftists to try to gaslight Americans about Democrats’ own role in shutting down the country. As

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