How much will it take to reopen, catch up kids, and save public schooling long term?
When the coronavirus hit the U.S. last spring, public schools across the country were forced to grapple with how best to educate their students while still protecting lives. For districts that stayed open, that meant buying PPE, investing in new cleaning methods and updating building ventilation systems. For those that closed buildings or turned to a hybrid of in-person and remote learning, it meant buying one-to-one remote learning technology so that every student had a laptop or learning device. But that initial financial hit was just the beginning, according to some education experts.
The long-term costs of making up for learning losses over the next few years are expected to far exceed the expenses that schools have already incurred. Have governments spent enough money to meet the unexpected and very steep costs of the last year? How much money would it take to cover those costs, finally reopen every school and then compensate for the tremendous learning losses? And if we don’t invest enough now, what could that mean for the public school system long term?
Experts — and history — suggest that school districts need much more than what federal and state governments have provided so far.
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