DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)The news from Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa that the district has 13,000 to 14,000 fewer students than expected, not only concerns him, but other educators including Curby Alexander, an Associate Professor at TCU’s College of Education.

“It does surprise me that it’s that many students,” said Alexander.

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Alexander said students in virtually every school district have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

“There’s a typical amount of growth that you can anticipate throughout a school year from where a student starts, and let’s say June when the school year ends. Well, that growth was interrupted because suddenly, you know, we find ourselves in an academic emergency.”

Professor Alexander said during the long break students were out of school, some kept up with their reading and educational activities, while others didn’t.

He said that presents another problem for teachers because curriculums are generally designed for the middle of student abilities.

“So now teachers are faced with, you know, what’s the new middle?”

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School districts he said should be testing their students to see where they are academically.

Hinojosa said Tuesday Dallas ISD teachers are doing that.

“They’re testing four or five at a time. So we started with the ones that we suspected we had more challenges with because we had fewer contacts, they were out the longest. We’ll have overall data when we finish all the students testing at the end of the month,” said Hinojosa.

Alexander said teachers, parents, and the students themselves will need to work extra hard this year.

“Education in our country is a pathway to success. It’s a pathway to better careers, a better life. And I feel for those students that are missing out on that opportunity to be connected to that pipeline that could provide them with a better life.”

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