A ‘Marshall Plan’ for schools

Economist Susan Dynarski writes in Sunday’s New York Times that America needs an ambitious initiative to help students make up for the learning that they missed this spring when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the nation’s schools.

Teachers and students have done their best with distance learning, she writes, but “it’s time to admit that, for the vast majority of students, online learning and work sheets are no substitute for trained teachers in classrooms.”

Her proposal: a massive federal program to help students catch up, something on the order of the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II. It’s needed, she says, because for many students, the school year effectively ended in March.

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Lower-income parents worry about learning loss

Lower-income parents are more than twice as likely as upper-income parents to be “very concerned” that their children are falling behind from missing school during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

The survey confirms that lower-income parents value their children’s education as much as anyone. And they are right to be concerned. Even if schools can reopen in the fall, most students will be away from the classroom for nearly half a year. As a New York Times editorial argues, this could have catastrophic effects.

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