An alarming number of Clark County high school students are on track to fail classes when the first semester ends this week, bolstering evidence that distance education on computer screens has not worked for many students.
Local school districts’ academic performance data requested by The Columbian mirrors a national trend of higher-than-average failure rates among students in grades nine to 12 during the pandemic. Data shows local failure rates range from 23.9 to 419 percent higher than during the same progress report grading period in 2019, with consequences more pronounced for lower-income and minority students.
To remedy the issue, district leaders say they’re building on support systems currently in place for the most vulnerable students and continuing to focus on short- and long-term solutions to ensure students succeed in what’s been their most disruptive year of their academic careers.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s revised guidelines for school districts last month loosened restrictions to allow more students to gradually return to the classroom based on a county’s COVID-19 transmission numbers. And while districts are welcoming younger learners into a twice-a-week hybrid setting, Clark County might not see high school students back in the classrooms until March — a full year after Inslee shut down schools to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
During a January workshop meeting, Battle Ground School Board director Monty Anderson expressed that while no fault of educators or students, he feels the system of remote learning, in many cases, has failed students.