After President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan last month, educators across the country began to formulate programs to fix the damage that students have sustained as a result of school closures and remote learning during the pandemic year.

The bill provides $130 billion nationwide to help K-12 schools reopen safely and to give students resources and support. Idaho’s share is $439.9 million, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Other states are quickly putting plans in place to use the money to remediate learning and socialization losses. So far, Idaho is still frozen in the pandemic headlights.

The state should consider emulating the North Carolina Legislature’s move to require public schools to provide students with at least 150 hours, or 30 days, of in-person instruction this summer.

Other states, including California, Minnesota and Georgia, are also drafting plans that may include summer classes.

The RAND Corp., a nonprofit that studied the matter, says summer schools must be well-planned and executed to be effective—and that takes time. Nonetheless, they’ve got to happen.

Otherwise, America risks that its entire school-age generation will never recover. Significant deficits in English and math have shown up in even the sporadic student testing done this year.

Studies of other disasters have shown that failing to remedy learning losses will shrink earnings and achievements over a lifetime. We can’t let that happen.

State leaders, school boards and educators need to move quickly to put programs in place to get Idaho students up to speed.


“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

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