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Unfinished Learning, Lagging Middle School Performance & Emergency in Children's Mental Health

2022 - 2023 Reports Tell Us:

  • During COVID, many children fell behind in learning.

  • Children of color, in income-constrained families, remain behind.

  • Boys of color are more susceptible to disciplinary measures.

  • Economic distress, poverty is a precursor for academic failure.

  • More boys underperform in high school compared to girls.

  • Males are less likely to seek help for mental health challenges.

  • Poverty is an intergenerational trauma, when passed on continues.

Learning Loss Facts:

  • Schools serving majority Black and Latino students remain far below in reading and mathematics achievement levels.

  • Percent of students on grade level declined greater in households earning less than $75,000.

  • Researchers found that setting attainable goals alongside supplemental support is a viable path to grade-level proficiency.

Poverty: An Intergenerational Trauma Facts:

  • The American Psychological Association identifies poverty as one of several traumas transmitted through generations.

  • Trauma experienced by elders is transmitted into genetic adaptations that the young child picks up for safety.

  • This secondary trauma behaves similar to PTSD where the brain/senses danger (bias) from others and recoils.

  • In the educational setting, the young student feeling a "block" to his performance withdraws and misses the lesson.

2021 - 2022 Data

Unfinished Learning:

"COVID-10 and Education: The Lingering Effects of Unfinished Learning"

McKinsey & Company July 27, 2021

School year 2020-2021 was the most disruptive of school years taking stock of the impact on student learning

and well being. It was the most challenging time in our nation's history for educators and students. Fallout from the Pandemic threatens to depress this generation's prospects and constrict their opportunities into adulthood.

  • A 40-state assessment found students 5 months behind in Math and 4 months behind in Reading.

  • Adjusted for income, Black students were 7 months behind in Math, Hispanic students 5 months behind in Math and White students 4 months behind in Math.

  • COVID-19 brought another trauma to the lives of children already weighted down by a host of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Middle School Performance Lagging: Transforming the Culture of Maryland's Schools for Black Boys Maryland School Board, August 2022 There is longstanding and national concern about the historical and continuing underachievement of Black Boys. Recommendations are presented for implementation by school administrators. Actual performance data was abstracted from the 2018-2019 school year from all 20 Middle Schools in Maryland.

  • Maryland State educators discuss the ongoing low performance of Black boys on all parameters of educational achievement measured in the State.

  • An estimated 1,652 Black boys and 872 Hispanic boys in Middle School are eligible for Free/Reduced-Price Lunch (FRL), a measure of poverty.

  • Nine Middle schools with the highest FRL had the lowest “Overall School Performance” while eleven schools with the lowest FRL had the highest “Overall School Performance.”

Kids Count Data Center

Annie E. Casey Foundation

December 13, 2021

Three national children's organizations declared an Emergency in children's mental health. The COVID Pandemic has accelerated this mental health crisis and exacerbated inequities in children of color. This adds another trauma to the lives of children already weighted down with a host of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

  • Suicide became the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-24 in 2018.

  • Emergency visits for mental health for ages 5-11 increased 24%.

  • Native Indians and multiracial youth have the highest depression rates.


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