Restoring pandemic losses will require major changes in schools and classrooms, superintendents say

Though kids are learning this year, many have fallen even further behind grade level. Our new report—which draws from a national survey of school districts—reveals how good intentions have collided with vexing realities. As new COVID-19 outbreaks and anxiety over health concerns kept kids and teachers home, and as politics roiled small-town and suburban schools, district leaders found themselves squeezed by the conflicting pressures set by new state mandates and parent demands.

Top leaders of six school systems spoke about their specific challenges as part of in-depth interviews conducted for the report. Under promises of anonymity, superintendents and other district leaders were eager to speak about the struggles they could see in schools and classrooms, as well as their concerns about the welfare of children, teachers, and principals. They were also forthright about the need for changes in how schools operate, including new ways to use time, money, and teacher skills; to identify and help kids who struggle; and to make greater use of community resources for learning and student support.

Co-authored by WWU Associate Professor of Political Science Kate Destler.