The largest economic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. will come from student learning shortfalls caused by school closures, inferior hybrid and remote instruction, and the general disruption of the academic calendar’s rhythm. The most recent national data indicate learning losses are severe enough that the average student can be expected to have 6 percent lower lifetime earnings, and these losses are likely much greater for disadvantaged students.
Unlike many of the daunting social and economic problems of today, this problem is readily fixable. The appropriate strategy is clear and supported by extensive research. The necessary immediate funding is already in place. There is strong bipartisan public support. All that is missing is a real commitment to take action.