The Paradox of Pandemic School Reform

Debates about schooling are currently consumed by what appear to be twin puzzles.

Even as angst about critical race theory (CRT) and school masking mandates run rampant, parents tell pollsters that they continue to love their kids’ schools and teachers. Meanwhile, Americans report exhaustion with school reform of pretty much every stripe, even as parents say they’re hungry for novel options (including private school choice, homeschooling, and “learning pods”). 

What’s going on? How can parents be simultaneously angst-ridden and satisfied? Exhausted by reform and hungry for options? 

For starters, we need to appreciate that schools serve at least three key functions for students and families: the custodial, the social, and the academic. 

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