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OPINION: School Closures Require Digging Deep Into Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

The abrupt closing of nearly the entire American school system is a massive story. It deserves an enormous amount of attention. And so far, the quality and quantity of the coverage that I’ve seen has been encouragingly high — especially given what a fast-moving, complex situation we’ve been in since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With 14,000 or so different districts, the K-12 system is enormously decentralized. With something like 50 million kids and 3.7 million teachers, it’s massive. The frenzy of social media activity is impossible to keep up with, and the news has been breaking with crushing speed. I hope readers, listeners, and viewers appreciate the extraordinary service that journalists are performing right now.

That said, the danger that I see is that a certain “fog of war” mentality in which overwhelmed and exhausted education journalists mainly write stories based on government announcements (such as last night’s passage of a massive stimulus package), what others are doing or what they’re seeing on social media or in their own homes, doubling down on established storylines rather than slowing down enough to decide what’s really most important or to consider storylines and approaches to add.

Read the full blog post here.