mid-March, the coronavirus forced schools to close and abruptly threw American
families into the world of virtual education. As the crisis continues and we
approach the upcoming school year, parents are searching for answers on what
they can expect and how education will be different.
State think tanks are helping families navigate these uncertain times by sharing trends, attitudes, and ideas on what education could look like in the fall and beyond.
Home schooling here to stay?
- California Policy Center argued the coronavirus has turned us into a nation of home-schoolers. Since the pandemic lockdown closed schools, CPC argued the resistance to the status quo in public education has mushroomed.
- Center of the American Experiment highlighted a RealClear Opinion research survey that finds four out of 10 families are more likely to home-school after the lockdowns end.
- Mississippi Center for Public Policy noted the increased support for home schooling and listed the advantages of an individualized education.
- The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs highlighted new research that finds parents seem to be gaining a new appreciation of the value and rewards of home schooling.
- Sutherland Institute highlighted how the coronavirus shutdowns are bringing momentum to the home-schooling movement.
Having education options
will become even more important
- If you open schools again, will they come? The Bluegrass Institute asked this question and reviewed a survey that finds parents think an alternative to public schools will work better for their child in the COVID-19 world.
- With kids not in brick-and-mortar schools for the near future, California Policy Center noted parents are awakening to options such as virtual schools, home schooling, and private schools.
- Center of the American Experiment asserted the coronavirus pandemic confirmed there are glaringly obvious gaps and inequities in our education system and encouraged parents to consider other education options for their children.
- The Mackinac Center highlighted how many families are open to changing how their children are educated.
will be a powerful tool for the future
- Empower Mississippi suggested the coronavirus will lead us to consider the expanding role of virtual schooling, not only as an emergency measure, but as an important full-time option for some students.
- The Georgia Center for Opportunity noted we’re in the middle of the biggest virtual learning experiment in American history. To expand virtual learning, we will need to help students develop digital literacy skills and better train teachers to implement lessons in a digital environment. GCO argued the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the weakness of an education system built for one approach and a single learning style.
- The Pacific Research Institute observed that online learning is showing itself to be a powerful tool in keeping the learning process ongoing for students homebound by the coronavirus. Educators and policymakers should ensure that, when this crisis is over, online learning becomes part of the new normal for education in our country.
- Kansas Policy Institute asserted the coronavirus has forced the education community to embrace the realities of educating students away from the conventional building-based model.
- In a webinar, the Texas Public Policy Foundation argued the coronavirus will heighten visibility and support for virtual education.
guidelines could affect families’ choices
states have issued reopening guidelines, many have incorporated next steps for K-12
schools. Several state think tanks are breaking down these guidelines to help
families understand what parents and students can expect in the fall—including the
education options available beyond traditional public schools.
- The Bluegrass Institute reviewed the Kentucky Department of Education’s COVID-19 considerations and guidance for reopening schools. Based on the information in that report, Bluegrass argued that safely and efficiently reopening schools is going to be a very complex endeavor in the coronavirus era.
- The California Policy Center reviewed state and county school reopening guidelines for the fall, and argued these heavy-handed plans should convince parents to homeschool if possible.
- Civitas Institute highlighted what the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is considering for public school students when classes return this fall: no extra-curricular activities, no sports, no band, and no eating in the cafeteria. Civitas argued the state should allow parents to return their children to school this fall as we traditionally know it: in-person instruction, sports, band, extracurricular activities along with reasonable precautions.
- In a new video, the Georgia Center for Opportunity discussed the Georgia Governor’s suggestions for returning to school in the fall. GCO recommended Georgians prepare for some distance learning in the next school year.
- Idaho Freedom Foundation reviewed the conditions being put up to reopen public schools, and reminded parents that returning to government schools is not their only option.
- The Kansas Policy Institute argued the most likely scenario is that schools across Kansas will open this August just as they did last August. KPI noted that, as the economy begins to recover, parents will return to their jobs, and their need to balance work with their children’s education will push the state to give schools the green light.
- Sutherland Institute released six ways the COVID-19 era might change the 2020-2021 school year. These include looping, which allows students to stay with the same teacher or classroom for part or all of the next school year; digital learning; shared delivery (having a mix of in-person and online instruction; staggered schedules; waivers, or sanctioned exemptions from law; and increased education choice through polices like an education savings account.