Harvard Kennedy School
In the period just before the pandemic broke, steady growth in school choice had begun to stall. The political consensus that had generated charter, tax-credit scholarship, and voucher experiments was beginning to fragment.
But the direction of change shifted quickly with the onset of the pandemic. District-run schools diversified their approaches to education by shifting to online and hybrid instruction. Anxious parents also looked for alternatives to district-run schools. Many enrolled their children in charter and private schools or taught them at home. Neighborhood pods, tutors, and new approaches to digital learning suddenly became fashionable. Yet it remains unclear how lasting these developments will be. Is the choice sector expanding once again? Are policymakers and the public at large determined to alter the shape of American education? Is the meaning of school choice undergoing fundamental change? Or will the country’s education system return to traditional forms?
These are some of the questions explored in "School Choice in the Post-Pandemic Era," a virtual webinar series held from Oct. 8 to Dec. 10, 2021.