How the education system can adapt to COVID-19

Many Resources are Available to Families for Free

There is an abundance of online resources available to families to help them adapt to their children’s new home education experiences. Families can access instructional videos for free at websites such as Khan Academy and TED Ed, and over 13,000 families have been sharing many more helpful resources with each other at Learn Everywhere.

Policymakers Can Help Families Adapt

Policymakers in all states can help families access virtual charter schools by relaxing or getting rid of regulations on enrollment deadlines, the maximum allowable student-to-teacher ratios, and by waiving standardized testing requirements. Policymakers should avoid following the responses by states like Oregon and Pennsylvania. Oregon prohibited students from switching into virtual charter schools and Pennsylvania is not compensating virtual charter schools for serving any of their new students during the crisis.

Education Choice Programs as Short- and Long-Term Solutions

States could also issue emergency education savings accounts to help families adjust to the closures. If a child’s residentially assigned government school is not working for them during the closure, for whatever reason, the child could use some of their education dollars to cover homeschooling expenses or to attend a private school of their choosing. The state could set the education savings account funding amount to a fraction of the amount that would have been spent on the child in the government school to create a win-win scenario for all parties involved: families would have more educational options and government schools would get to keep some portion of funding for children who no longer attend them.

Let’s Fund Students, Not Systems

Families have experienced significant hardships with adapting to COVID-19 and the closures of brick-and-mortar schools. The good news is that millions of families already have access to virtual charter schools, online learning resources, and networks of parents sharing homeschooling tips. Policymakers have the power to provide more help to families by getting rid of unnecessary red tape and by expanding educational options.

CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.