The former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush; the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten; and the school superintendents of Dallas and Miami-Dade are among those who will participate in a weekly webinar series on school choice in the post-pandemic era. The series organized by the Program on Education Policy and Governance begins this Friday, October 8.
In the period leading up to the pandemic, steady growth in school choice had begun to stall. The political consensus that had generated charter, tax-credit scholarship, and voucher experiments was also beginning to fragment. However, the onset of the pandemic sparked a flurry of activity. District-run public schools moved to diversify their approaches by shifting to online and hybrid instruction. Anxious parents also searched for alternatives to district-run schools. Many enrolled their children in charter and private schools or taught them at home. Charter schools saw an increase of nearly a quarter-million new students and the number of homeschooling parents may have doubled by some estimates. Neighborhood pods, tutors, and new approaches to digital learning suddenly became fashionable.
Yet, it remains unclear how lasting these developments will be and whether they will influence the trajectory education as the nation emerges from the pandemic. Is the choice sector expanding once again? Is the meaning of school choice undergoing fundamental change? Is the public at large determined to alter the shape of American education? Or, can we expect a return to pre-pandemic trends?
The purpose of the weekly webinar series is to consider these questions. Each session features the nation’s foremost experts. Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush will open the first session. In the following week, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, discusses the future of school choice with Jay Greene, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. The topics and expert panelists for subsequent weeks is listed below.
Register to attend the conference:
The weekly series runs from October 8 to December 10, 2021 on Zoom from noon to 1 p.m. eastern time. A link to register for the conference, which is free of charge and open to the public, is here.
Paul E. Peterson, Director, Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University
Daniel Hamlin, Professor, University of Oklahoma
Jeb Bush, 43rd Governor of Florida
What school options should families be offered in the post-pandemic era?
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation for Teachers
Jay Greene, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation
Is the school choice movement a house divided?
Jim Blew, Co-founder, Defense of Freedom Institute for Public Policy Studies
Robert Enlow, President and CEO, EdChoice
Derrell Bradford, President, 50Can
To be announced
What is driving the demand for digital learning? Is digital learning effective?
Mark Berends, Director, Center for Research on Educational Opportunity, University of Notre Dame
Michael Horn, Distinguished Fellow, Clayton Christensen Institute
Jennifer Darling-Aduana, Assistant Professor, Georgia State University
Is political support for school choice gaining or losing ground?
Alisha Thomas Morgan, Executive Director and Superintendent, Ivy Preparatory Academies
Beth Hawkins, Senior Writer and National Correspondent, The 74
Maureen Downey, Columnist, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
What does the latest research tell us about school choice in the United States?
Marcus Winters, Associate Professor, Boston University
Christopher Campos, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
Patrick Wolf, Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and 21st Century Endowed Chair in School Choice, University of Arkansas
How does choice in district schools work in practice?
Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Robin Lake, Director, Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington
Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District
What does the latest research tell us about school choice worldwide?
Eric Bettinger, Professor, Stanford University
Abhijeet Singh, Assistant Professor, Stockholm School of Economics
Harry Patrinos, Practice Manager, World Bank