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Gov. Northam Makes Juneteenth A Holiday, Gets Pass For Racist Yearbook Photo

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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) announced Tuesday that he’s designating Juneteentha day that recognizes the end of slavery in the U.S., as an official holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders to the people of Galveston, Texas that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free.

Gov. Northam’s announcement was made in the capital city of Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy. He made the announcement after more than a year of backlash for his controversial 1984 medical school yearbook photo, which featured two men (one of them Northam himself), one wearing Ku Klux Klan robes and the other with blackface.

Juneteenth is celebrated each year on June 19. As an official holiday in Virginia, Juneteenth would be a paid day off for all state employees.

“It’s time we elevate this,” Gov. Northam said of Juneteenth. “Not just a celebration by and for some Virginians but one acknowledged and celebrated by all of us.”

Northam was joined Tuesday at his press conference by musician Pharrell Williams, a Virginia native. Pharrell said he believes that Juneteenth deserves the same level of recognition and celebration as Independence Day.

“Here’s our day, and if you love us, it’ll be your day too,” Pharrell said.

Virginia is the second state to declare Juneteenth as a state holiday. Texas did so in 1980.

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Nation

Remote Learning Lowered Test Scores in Every State; Minority Students Hit the Worst

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A paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows remote learning has had a negative impact on students’ test scores in every state. Not only were students across the country affected, minority students were impacted the most.

According to the publication, remote learning led to declines in test scores for English and math, when compared to scores of students who went to schools with more in-person learning. “Our research shows that test score losses are significantly larger in districts with less in-person learning,” said Emily Oster, professor of economics at Brown University.

“This suggests, yes, that virtual learning was – and is – less effective than in-person learning, at least as measured by school-based testing” added Oster. “Passing rates in math declined by 14.2 percentage points on average; we estimate this decline was 10.1 percentage points smaller for districts fully in-person,” the study found.

The research combined “district-level schooling mode data from the 2020-21 school year,” “district-level test score data from 2015 to 2021” and “demographic data from the NCES,” according to the study.

Data was collected from students in third to eighth grades in 12 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Score declines showed variations by state, as well. Virginia “which had the most complete virtual learning time, along with Colorado, saw an almost 32% drop on math test scores in the 2020-21 school year when compared to the 2018-19 school year” reports Tampa Free Press.

Wyoming, however, “which had the most in-person learning, along with Florida, saw just a 2.3% drop in English, the study found.”

“Changes in English Language Arts (ELA) were smaller than math scores overall, but drops in scores were greater in districts with larger black and Hispanic populations and students eligible for free and reduced lunch prices” reports Tampa Free Press.

“Districts that have a larger share of black and Hispanic students and less in-person schooling also saw a greater decline in ELA test scores than those with more in-person schooling. “

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