Joanne Collins Brock, a 2nd-grade teacher at St. Francis School, teaches online in her empty classroom in Goshen, Kentucky. Schools were closed to students because of the pandemic.

This spring, the coronavirus pandemic blindsided America’s schools with a staggering, unforeseen problem. On March 12, Ohio governor Mike DeWine announced that he was closing all of his state’s schools. Within two weeks, more than 40 states had followed suit, upending the lives of nearly 50 million students. Schools were suddenly forced to find ways to feed millions of children and reinvent methods for educating kids and supporting families. It was easy to find tales of heroic efforts by local teachers and stories of hair-rending frustration from overwhelmed parents. On the whole, did the nation’s schools rise to the challenge? If not, what will be the legacy of their failure?

Weighing in with opposing opinions are Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, and Chris Stewart, chief executive officer of Brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists.


Schools went to Extraordinary Lengths to Serve Their Students

by Michael Casserly





A Memorable, Miserable Failure with the Potential to Change Parental Expectations Forever

by Chris Stewart


This article appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of Education Next. Suggested citation format:

Casserly, M., and Stewart, C. (2020). Did America’s Schools Rise to the Coronavirus Challenge? Education Next, 20(4), 72-77.

Last updated July 1, 2020