The usual debates in education circles aren’t helping right now.
These conversations — about school choice and vouchers and equity, public vs. private vs. charter vs. home, standardized testing and screen time and district residency rules and teachers’ unions — can’t be suspended as COVID-19 spikes around the country ahead of the start of the fall semester. But in their status quo version, such debates are distorting the more pressing matter of getting through this hell year. It won’t work to shoehorn discussion of this semester into our normal policy frameworks.
Perhaps instead of sticking to those ordinary patterns, we could start with two presuppositions: Just about every option will be worse for disadvantaged students. And families should be given as many choices as possible to navigate this fall.
Parents must be allowed to pick their poison.
Consider how re-openings will affect disadvantaged students. If public schools open their doors,