Some $133 billion may be needed to make up for lost instructional time as a result of pandemic-related school closures in the United States, writes 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow Susan Dynarski in a New York Times op-ed — a sum she roughly compares in today’s dollars with the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II. A professor of public policy, education, and economics at the University of Michigan, Dynarski proposes the creation of a federally funded national service corps focused on schools as one solution to help restore the education that has been lost.
“For most children, the school year effectively ended in March. If the country doesn’t recognize this fact and respond accordingly — with large federally funded programs to reverse the losses — we will do great harm to a generation of children who will learn less than those who went before them,” writes Dynarski. “They will read and write more poorly and be less likely to graduate from high school and college. The resulting shortage of highly trained workers will hamper the economic recovery and intensify earnings inequality.”