Magazine October 18, 2021, Issue

Education Reform after the Pandemic

A boy wears a face mask on the first day of school in Brooklyn, N.Y., September 13, 2021. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
Lessons learned, debates to have

The pandemic has revealed serious weaknesses in most areas of American governance, but few institutions have been more exposed than K–12 public education. After the experiences of the last year and a half, parents understandably have little remaining faith in the leaders of the nation’s public-school systems. If there is any silver lining to the nation’s inept and chaotic handling of K–12 schooling during the pandemic, it’s that millions of parents now recognize that traditional, one-size-fits-all public schooling doesn’t work for their children.

Consider the lessons parents and students learned during the 2020–21 school year.

As early as last summer, there was

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