Exposing the Myth of “Learning Loss”

A simple explanation

Andy Spears
1 min readSep 25, 2023
Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

During the pandemic, when schools were closed due to the uncertainty of the impact of COVID and the lack of a vaccine, many policymakers and pundits lamented what they called “learning loss.”

This was the idea that since kids were not in school, they “lost” or “were losing” learning.

That, somehow, learning was NOT happening.

This is ridiculous because kids are always learning. In fact, all of us can be learning all the time.

There were virtual classes and parent-led pods and more. And, well, no matter what they were doing at home, the kids were learning.

I read a piece from Dee Crescitelli that perfectly captures my frustration at the use of the term “learning loss.”

The pivotal line:

Learning wasn’t lost… it just escaped its cage.

As someone who writes regularly on education policy, this piece spoke to me through its simplicity.



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .