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The Scoop - Will money be the answer?
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When it comes to government, the solution to every problem is to add more money. The government has never found a malady more money, or a new program, can’t fix.

With that in mind, the Warren County School System should be well on its way to overcoming learning loss. The government is injecting some $28 million in one-time dollars into our local schools, a level of riches we’ve never before experienced.

If money is the solution, we have the answer! The funding will be put to good use no doubt, enabling everything from new classrooms to new Chromebooks.

Our schools could certainly use the money because learning loss is a very real and troubling issue. Everyone in education circles knew it would happen, but it’s no fun to address now that it's arrived.

I realize every school in the nation is working through the same problems we are, but I still find the test scores on our State Report Card bothersome. I’m not trying to assign blame or point fingers. That’s not my agenda. I think our schools, on balance, do a masterful job.

But there’s no sidestepping the raw data. If we give these test scores credence, which I suppose has become the purpose of public education, these scores smell.

The big numbers that jump out at me are the achievement scores, which measure if students are testing above or below grade level. We want our fifth-graders to test like fifth-graders, not have scores tell us they're actually reading on a third-grade level.

Overall, as an entire district, just 22.2% of Warren County students are testing on grade level, according to state achievement data. That means less than 1-in-4 of our students are on grade level.

When it comes to the entire state, the percentage of students testing at grade level or above is 27.8%. For me, that’s alarming.

Schools are the last place I point the finger of blame for all this because we’re asking our schools to do just about everything when it comes to our children. Our schools feed them two meals a day, provide them daily access to a school nurse, even give them clothes to wear if they need it.

While our schools do more, the support from home evaporates. Parents, with growing frequency, are often completely removed from their child’s education.

Learning loss has become a reality show we all hope will get canceled after one season. Unfortunately, it appears we have a long road ahead to claw our way back with less than a quarter of our students learning in accordance with state standards.

It’s seems reasonable to expect at least 50% of our students to be learning at grade level or above. But even reaching 50% seems like a journey around the globe in a sailboat.

Thankfully, our government has devoted millions and millions to solving this problem. For anyone who has ever said more money is the best way to improve education, we’re well on our way to finding out if that's true.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.