New study shows significant learning loss in elementary school kids

With remote learning and hybrid schedules, it’s been more than a year of upheaval for many of our nation’s young students. 

As the Delta variant surges, those changes may be far from over. New research shows the long-term effects of last year’s school shutdowns including learning loss and even a potential loss in lifetime earnings for elementary students.  

Soon-to-be 5th grader Otis Lambert practices division with his tutor, now a regular occurrence for the 10-year-old.  

"It has helped a lot on my writing and reversals," says Otis. "I used to reverse a lot of my letters and numbers."

Angela Brockunier is his math and English tutor for LA Tutors 123. It’s currently seeing a 40% increase in business, trying to help get kids caught up.  

RELATED: Delta variant viral load 1,000 times higher than original coronavirus strain

"They need to be touching things sometimes," says Brockunier "Kinesthetic learners really do well touching things, especially for math and they have nothing to do that with unless they take that upon themselves and a lot of kids just don’t know how to advocate for themselves."

Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. finds elementary school kids are now, on average, four months behind in reading and five months behind in math, and that’s optimistic, according to the firm that reports it’s even worse for students in schools with low household incomes.

The research predicts today’s students will earn $50,000 less over their lifetime, on the low end, because of the impact of the pandemic on their education.  

Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.

"Lack of concentration on the Internet for sure," says Brockunier. "They’re burnt out. Kids are tired and they’re not getting that social aspect they used to get and I can definitely feel that when they’re with me."

But many parents, who are able to, are now paying for private school or tutors, like Otis’s mom.  

"This year hopefully they’ll be able to go back and cover the basics that should’ve been in place at the end of 4th grade and get started on the right foot, I hope," says Laura Lambert.

Otis is surely looking forward to getting back to school and actually wishes he could bring one aspect of virtual learning with him: "If there was a device that could make people silent it would just be amazing," he chuckles.  

Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.