Despite the country’s tumult, with a new year, new administration and new vaccines, U.S. schools and the organizations that support them are already beginning to use gossamer language to describe next school year. We’ll rebuild with equity, or reimagine the system. We’ll dismantle and disrupt. Only the most timid call for just a redesign.
Be skeptical. For the most part, the proposals range from warmed-over versions of old debates to ideas that will not survive contact with the real world. More importantly, this sense of relief or forward momentum — which ignores the fact that millions of Americans are still very much in the midst of health, economic and education crises — is a signal that the country wants to move on. Paradoxically, the risk now may be less that we don’t come back from the pandemic educationally than that we snap back and move on so fast that the actual challenges to a more equitable education system are swept aside in our collective relief.