California Officials Try to Gaslight the Public, Preposterously Claim L.A. Students Did Great During School Closures

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Anyone who lives in Southern California and saw Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal headline, “How Los Angeles Avoided National Academic Plunge During Pandemic,” probably spit out their coffee as their jaw hit the floor.


California suffered through some of the longest school closures in the nation during the COVID pandemic, and the catastrophic effects on children are still being felt. Yet state officials—and inexplicably, The Journal—are now trying to gaslight you into believing the Golden State did just great. From The Journal:

Test scores from the Education Department showed that fourth- and eighth-grade students struggled in every state. But amid a national plunge in math and reading scores on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Los Angeles Unified School District stood out, recording higher scores in three of the four categories.

Officials from Governor Gavin Newsom on down are now, unbelievably, crowing about their successes despite the devastation they wrought.

“The data was so good,” said Los Angeles Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, referring to his district’s results. “It bodes very well for our L.A., and is really a testament to our strategy.”

“The data was so good.” Oops, sorry, I just spit out my coffee again.

The article goes on to describe all sorts of student test results that show how incredibly, wonderfully, and spectacularly the students performed. “We should have another pandemic and close schools down again!” they almost seem to be saying.

Let’s take look at some of those numbers:

Los Angeles students scored 257 out of a possible 500 points in the category of eighth-grade reading, representing an increase of nine points. It was the only significant gain shown in the federal analysis of state and city scores. Nationwide, public schools’ scores fell three points on that portion of the exam, to an average of 259.


Notice what that says? LA’s numbers went up nine points while the rest of the nation’s fell by three, yet still, Los Angeles is below the rest of the country. Amazing, guys, amazing! Here’s the truth, surpringly found in a New York Times headline Tuesday:

California Students Have Dismally Low Math and Reading Test Scores

While California’s scores remain low, they dropped less than those in other states between 2019 and 2022.

But even those “dropped less than those in other states” numbers are suspect:

California Governor Gavin Newsom was quick to try to put lipstick on the pig, issuing a press release Sunday with the ludicrous headline, “California Outperforms Most States in Minimizing Learning Loss.” What he and so many Cali officials gloss over is the human cost. Maybe student test scores ticked up here or there, but the psychological damage wrought by the lockdowns is incalculable.

Plus, who’s even taking the tests? Fifty thousand LA students didn’t even show up this August as schools opened:


Los Angeles psychiatrist and author of United States of Fear and Freedom From Fear, Dr. Mark McDonald, vehemently disagreed with Newsom on his Substack Thursday:

He [Newsom] praised the very policies he enacted that destroyed the lives of the state’s children: “California focused on keeping kids safe during the pandemic while making record investments to mitigate learning loss and transforming our education system.” Everything he wrote was a lie.

The truth is that his policies only helped one constituency, and not the underage one that cannot vote. School closures were enacted to benefit the California Teacher’s Union, the largest donor to the Democrat party and Newsom, and the most powerful political force in the state. [Emphasis mine.]

As most California parents would agree, the prolonged school closures were an unmitigated disaster and many students suffered immeasurable loss. A few test scores won’t change that. McDonald:

Newsom paid the state’s teachers to take a two-year vacation while the children languished at home, playing video games and experimenting with fentanyl. Many committed suicide. One of my 15-year-old patients in Santa Monica died at home of a drug overdose in the middle of the closures. “Safer at Home” was a lie. Newsom lied and children died. And as this year’s NAEP report shows, so went the nation.

I’ve written extensively on the psychological and emotional harm done to children by the failure of adults to responsibly tend to their own anxiety, and their cowardly compliance with tyrannical mandates issued by narcissist autocrats like Newsom, who kept his own children in private schools, maskless, throughout the pandemic. This recently released national academic progress report confirms the unprecedented loss of learning among those who relied on adults to represent their interests. We failed them.  [Emphasis mine.]


While the people who imposed lockdowns, school closures, and mandates now pretend it never happened, and while morons like CNN’s Jake Tapper say we should have had a national conversation, the people who lived through it know. And we must never let them forget.


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