Learning Gap Widens Among TN Kids

Tennessee kids have lost months of learning to the pandemic, and their advocates are now trying to make up for lost time.

A new report from the nonprofit group Save the Children finds more than half of all families say their children are spending less time on learning activities compared to a typical school day before COVID-19.

Experts say dropout rates will likely increase, and could result in one million more people not earning high-school diplomas.

Chapple Osborne-Arnold, Tennessee deputy director for Save the Children, said she initially thought online learning would help rural kids, but quickly realized that wasn’t the case.

“Then we were faced with the reality that wasn’t going to happen, they didn’t even have access to internet or devices, or any of those tools,” Osborne-Arnold explained. “And so, we were able to put together a lot of really high-quality learning kits. We delivered these, hand-delivered ’em, to all of the families and children in the area.”

She added very young children had even fewer options, as high-quality child-care, pre-K and Head Start programs were already in short supply statewide.

The report said last year, child-care providers face crippling revenue shortages from low enrollment and new safety requirements. By April 2020, 60% of child-care providers across the nation had closed their doors.

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. News and Sports Director for Rooster 101.5 FM, 93.9 The Duck and Whiskey Country 105.1, and 95.9. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders (31 years) on The Rooster 101.5 and can be heard M-F broadcasting our local news. Lucky has done play-by-play for 3,993 (and counting) sports events on Radio & TV. He also served four years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for six years at Grundy County High School.

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