The pandemic has exposed how undervalued America’s educational system is. Prior to the pandemic, educators across the nation were not making a living wage and shortages of qualified teachers were widespread. Due to state budget shortfalls, public schools will feel the deficit even worse.
We are in the midst of a big push to reopen schools, but with crowded classrooms, ventilation systems in disrepair, and a lack of space, the probability of schools seeding super-spreader events remains dangerously high. Vulnerable teachers and school staff will become front line workers, risking their lives for our children’s education.
Remote learning, the alternative to face-to-face learning, is far inferior. Continued inequalities in funding and resource allocation make learning through the internet not practical, and shifting the responsibility for the supervision of children onto parents unfairly burdens disadvantaged households. 2020 will become known as the lost year.
The impact of the pandemic on post-secondary education has also been huge as colleges across the nation face bankruptcy. Enrollment rates have been falling. With financial ruin at home coupled with the prospect of term-long online learning, high school graduates are increasingly turning their backs on the exorbitant price tags of rising tuition. At the same time, xenophobia, capricious immigration policies, and a fear of Covid-19 are dissuading international students from coming into the country.
Every sector of education is being affected. The repercussions will be felt for years to come.