April 15, 2021
There was a moment last spring when every parent and employer in America suddenly realized how deeply their lives and livelihoods depended on an institution too often in the background and taken for granted: the nation’s schools.
With almost no notice, adults and children found themselves in the middle of a massive national experiment in new ways of teaching and learning, and new ways of dividing responsibilities between home, school and work.
A year later, it’s clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed education in America in lasting ways, and glimpses of that transformed system are already emerging. School districts are developing permanent virtual options in the expectation that after the pandemic, some families will stick with remote learning — even for elementary school kids. Hundreds of colleges have, for the first time, admitted a freshman class without requiring SAT or ACT scores, potentially opening admissions to the most selective colleges to more low-income students. And thousands of educators across the country, from preschool to college, are finding new ways to spark their students’ creativity, harness technology and provide the services they need to succeed.
The pandemic has unleashed a wave of innovation in education that has accelerated change and prompted blue-sky thinking throughout the system. What if more schools could enhance learning and nutrition by offering their students not just a free breakfast and lunch, but dinner and a snack? What if schools delivered books during the summer? What if high school art students had access to graphic design and architecture software?