According to The Wall Street Journal, “There are nearly 60 million prekindergarten, elementary, middle and high school students in the U.S., and with online learning a poor substitute for actual time in school, many of their educations risk being diminished.”
Many parents are determined not to let that happen. But, in single-parent households and homes where both parents work, it’s not going to be easy.
Three economists from Northwestern University surveyed working parents in May and June and found that many of them put into place arrangements that “won’t be sustainable through all of the fall.” Keeping kids learning online will be harder, they say, because parents who weren’t at work as a result of lockdowns have returned to their jobs by now.
The Journal’s analysis, titled, “School’s at Home? So Long Career.” included research by several economists showing that parents will be forced to leave jobs and reduce hours — and incomes — due to school closures. But some parents are finding creative solutions, which could perhaps spawn permanent reform.
All over the country parents are organizing pandemic pods. The Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke applauds this innovation, “in which parents team up with other families in their neighborhoods or social circles to hire teachers for their children.” Sometimes parents do the teaching or facilitate online classes, but teachers willing to “co-quarantine” with a group of kids are in demand these days.
Classes take place in homes, in rented studio apartments, in storefronts, even outdoors.
A Berkeley, California family set up a 24-foot-round geodesic polyhedron in their backyard where 6 kindergartners will participate in online-school. The family’s Airstream trailer sits nearby and will serve as the school’s administrative office. They call it ’dome school’.
The Washington Post describes these arrangements as “a 2020 version of the one-room schoolhouse, privately funded.”
Meanwhile, public schools are funded at an average of $13,000 per student per year. Lindsey Burke says, “It’s time for policy to catch up with families.”