Student Achievement

Longer COVID-Related School Closures Could Hurt Students’ Future Earnings

By Olivia Rockeman and Nic Querolo, Bloomberg News — October 26, 2021 1 min read
Empty desks in a dark classrooom
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

U.S. students who experienced the longest school closures during the pandemic will face lower future earnings and are less likely to go to college, a new study shows.

Comparing children from the top quartile of income distribution to those from the bottom quartile, welfare losses are about 0.8 percentage point larger for the poorer children, according to a paper circulated Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research. That calculation doesn’t account for the fact that school closures were longer in richer counties, which would narrow the gap.

Secondary schools were closed for in-person learning for longer periods than elementary schools, meaning that students who started secondary school during the pandemic will endure the largest losses in their earning potential.

See Also

BRIC ARCHIVE
Design: Vanessa Solis/Education Week, Images: iStock

In some cases, students are returning to classrooms this school year for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. The average student may have lost months of instructional time, though the amount varies greatly by age, race and socioeconomic status.

Private-public divide

Private schools experienced shorter closures than public schools, so students at private schools — which typically attract individuals from wealthier backgrounds — are likely to have higher long-term earnings and college attainment.

That said, within public schools, poorer areas — especially in the South but also the Midwest — saw shorter school closures on average than more affluent regions on both coasts.

While children from poorer households are still worse off and might have been affected more severely by the COVID-19 crisis, shorter closures to their schools could mean that “their losses in human capital and lifetime earnings are more benign than those children from richer families,” the paper found.

See Also

8 landing hero
Stephanie Shafer for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Explainer Closing COVID-19 Equity Gaps in Schools
September 16, 2020
4 min read

Many districts are planning to tap federal COVID-19 stimulus funds to pay for support like hiring additional staff, tutoring, new technology, mental-health support or trying to find students who dropped off rosters.

This year, at least 624 districts have been affected by closures in 2,359 schools, though the pace has slowed since late August, according to Burbio, which tracks school closures. The highest share of disruption has been in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Copyright (c) 2021, Bloomberg News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Achievement Spotlight Spotlight on Student Engagement & Hands-On Learning
This Spotlight will help you learn about reducing student ambivalence towards math, proven strategies for reengaging students, and more.


Student Achievement Opinion Traditional Grading May Not Be as Straightforward as It Seems
It can demotivate students, reflect inaccurate learning, and be biased against slower learners, argues an equitable grading advocate.
9 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Student Achievement Opinion Chronic Absenteeism Could Be the Biggest Problem Facing Schools Right Now
If we are serious about overcoming learning loss, chronic absenteeism should be our first priority.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Student Achievement Leader To Learn From An Unorthodox Plan to Pay Students to Write Curriculum Is Raising Achievement
For Kate Maxlow, the director of curriculum in Hampton City, Va., engaging students and improving academic achievement go hand in hand.
9 min read
Kate Maxlow works with Ava Gomez, 8, left and Khalid Baldwin, 8, right, on a “breakout room” activity in Jade Austin’s second grade classroom at Samuel P. Langley Elementary School in Hampton, Va., on January 12, 2024.
Kate Maxlow, director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment at Hampton City Schools, works with Ava Gomez, 8, left and Khalid Baldwin, 8, right, on a “breakout room” activity in a 2nd grade classroom at Samuel P. Langley Elementary School in Hampton, Va.
Sam Mallon/Education Week