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Science-based educator encourages change in education to withstand pandemic

Survey: Teens think remote learning is 'worse', worried about future opportunities
Posted at 4:41 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 20:26:36-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The dangers of students falling behind are being realized as we near the end of a year of remote learning.

At this point, parents are frustrated.

"This whole situation is causing a stunting to, I would say, an entire generation," Jason Barry, father of a San Diego 7th-grader, said.

Dr. Kimberly Berens runs a system of private schools based on what she calls the science of learning and hopes the pandemic spurs change in the entire education system.

"I always say from a breakdown comes a breakthrough," Dr. Berens said.

Dr. Berens said students need to be more actively engaged in the classroom, instead of spoken to by a teacher.

She added students should only move on to harder material once they've mastered current subjects, instead of being shuffled through a system regulated under timelines.

By timelines, she means moving up a grade because you turn a year older.

Studies show distant learning has taken a toll. Students did well in reading because reading is more readily available to practice at home. However, studies found math grades decreased significantly, affecting minority and low-income students disproportionately more.

"When you talk about low-income kids, it is a crime in the United States, the inequity in education is tragic, it is anti-democracy and it is horrifying," Dr. Berens said.

Local districts are already trying to address this. The San Diego Unified School District changes their grading policies in October hoping to help minority students by eliminating non-academic factors, like behavior, from grading.

"There has got to be a program put into place for these kids so we can quickly remediate what was lost so these kids can move forward," Dr. Berens said.

She hopes the new White House administration funds education programs to fill the gap created by the pandemic and funds teacher training focused on creating student mastery of subjects in the classroom.

Dr. Berens said parents and teachers need to stand up to create positive change in their schools, focused on practices that are based on science to properly educate their children.