Learning From Lockdown: What’s next for education?

The Monitor and newsrooms around the country have been assessing the state of education – and finding some solutions for the future. 

What will education in the United States look like in another year? Another five years? 

If it seems too soon to ask, consider this: The Colorado school district I live in announced this month that instead of closing for a snow day following a blizzardy weekend, students would work remotely. 

While not everyone with a sled and mittens might agree with that approach, it demonstrates the expanded thinking around the delivery of learning this past year.

The March 29 cover story explores another shift in how communities think about learning, as networks of volunteer tutors have formed a new kind of safety net for students.

In recent months, the Monitor has been assessing the state of education with a group of journalists brought together and funded by the nonprofit Solutions Journalism Network. One of the outcomes is a publishing collaboration across newsrooms that explores the challenges and legacy of remote learning. The artwork on this page was inspired by those articles. The project page has details about a March 31 virtual event related to the reporting, hosted by The Dallas Morning News. 

This suite of stories probes some of the key issues facing education today. Some relate directly to the past year and pandemic-related learning loss. All look hopefully for solutions.

Researchers and advocates see an immediate opportunity to think intentionally about what could change in education – related to equity, delivery, and outlook. Our cover story embraces that spirit with its premise that tutoring can not only get students back on track, but also potentially make everyone a teacher or a learner. Understanding the link between knowledge acquisition and human interaction is essential to any forward-looking vision. As a former teacher, I can confirm that learning is only strengthened by relationships.

“As we think about tutoring, it’s not just about accelerating academic performance,” says AJ Gutierrez, co-founder of Saga Education, a tutoring nonprofit featured in the story. “As a district, there is a lot of benefit from infusing schools and communities with human capital.”  

Will that be achieved through online platforms? Or a national tutoring corps? Let’s talk again in a year. 

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