A 5-point plan for post-pandemic education

Goff Justice announces a $20 million expansion of nursing education programs

It seems hard to believe, but the epidemic in the United States began three years ago. With all the changes that COVID-19 has brought to schools, perhaps the one most people forget is how the virus has changed the delivery of education.

While everyone is happy with distance learning and hybrid models are largely over, it’s not accurate to say that education has returned to what was “normal,” i.e. pre-pandemic instruction.

The main reason the school feels different is because the districts bought a stack of specialized technology just to keep the education alive during those three years. A 2022 survey by the Consortium for School Networking showed that more than 80 percent of American schools now have a device for every K-12 student. This is far from the pre-pandemic numbers, when about two out of three high schools and middle schools had one-to-one and less than half of the elementary schools had a device per student. This only includes student hardware – not the required network improvements, teacher training, or the many other purchases required to create a strong network both in schools and in students’ homes.

While this spending on technology resets the bar for what is expected of schools, now and in the future, it also raises some powerful questions. Can schools afford to use all the new technology they have? More importantly, can they afford to maintain all this equipment in the long run?

newly McKinsey Survey Reports indicate that counties still have $130 billion in unspent ESSER money to allocate in the next three budget cycles. Just over half of the 260 district officials surveyed said they “struggle to assemble internal strategic planning and operational capacity to make and execute spending decisions in the face of competing priorities and ongoing disruptions.” These same officials expect IT service costs to rise between 6% and 8% over the next three years.

Latest posts by eSchool Media contributors (show all)