The current economic downturn is unique and much worse than any previous downturn, and the effects are more severe than we have seen in the past. The pandemic forced schools and school districts to cancel traditional learning environments and make substantial changes to the inputs and outputs of education, including student characteristics, family characteristics, and teachers. These factors all impact test scores and graduation rates. The question remains: Should we shut down the US Department of Education?
Schools are overwhelmed by the current COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic affects schoolchildren worldwide, and their impact varies depending on the country they live in, family background, and access to alternative education. In the United States alone, 55 million children under the age of 18 were affected, and an estimated 1.4 billion globally. As a result, public health messages and policies must be deployed through education.
The century foundation recently published a study on per-pupil spending and student outcomes. They found that the United States needs another $150 billion in education funding to achieve national average results. The findings highlight the role of socioeconomic status and opportunity gaps in education performance. And these studies are backed by a wealth of data. And the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center, the National Education Association, and the Economic Policy Institute, among others.
The current pandemic has highlighted the need to focus on both enrichment and opportunity in education. School systems need to address the widening gap between rich and poor students in terms of access to high-quality education, including after-school programs, AP classes, and positive approaches to discipline issues. It also requires equitable education funding. In the meantime, schools must focus on increasing the amount of time students spend learning.