School Choice in a Time of Transition
We are approaching the end of one of the most consequential years in the history of American education. Events that have defined 2020 for many Americans—the COVID-19 pandemic, presidential election, and protests over racial injustice—will impact traditional public, charter, and private schools for years to come.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented extraordinary challenges to schools, and schools have responded differently to those challenges. Some have offered in-person instruction, while others offered remote or hybrid instruction. Some have kept the same grading standards, while others have switched to a pass/fail system. Meanwhile, the 2020 election is over, but the future of K-12 education policy remains in flux. This certainly includes the future of school choice reforms. For example, while the Obama and Trump administrations supported the expansion of charter schools, President-elect Joe Biden has taken a more circumspect approach, opposing for-profit charters and advocating stricter charter school accountability. All of these changes are occurring amid renewed attention to racial injustice in American society.
On December 15, the Brown Center for Education Policy at Brookings and the National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice (REACH) will cohost a webinar that examines the changing landscape for U.S. schools and education policy. The webinar will feature two panel discussions. The first will consider how U.S. schools have responded to COVID-19, including why traditional public, charter, and private are responding differently. The second will consider what to expect for school choice reforms in the years ahead, especially with the change in administrations. Panelists will share perspectives on what we have learned from this tumultuous year, what we still need to learn, and what research can tell us to improve school choice policies in the months and years ahead.