Duke Scholars on Challenges to K-12 Education in the Pandemic

image of student writing at a classroom desk

Duke education professor Kristen Stephens will join physicians Kanecia Zimmerman and Ibukun Akinboyo to discuss reopening schools during the pandemic at a media briefing Wednesday, Feb 10 at 10 a.m.

It’s the latest opportunity for Duke scholars to weigh in on issues surrounding K-12 education, which have surfaced repeatedly during the pandemic.

Akinboyo tackled related topics in a briefing in mid-July, as districts were debating whether or not to reopen classrooms in the fall. She was joined in that discussion by Duke economist Lisa Gennetian and physician Charlene Wong:

Duke scholars have also commented in various media outlets about the pandemic’s effects on students.

  • Anticipating a tumultuous school year, psychology professor Harris Cooper argued in April in USA Today that school districts should consider adding more days to the school calendar.
  • Writing in the Toronto Globe and Mail in May, Gavin Yamey made the case that Quebec was moving too hastily to reopen schools.
  • Also in USA Today, Charlene Wong predicted that parents would need more help from employers to handle the impending chaos of schools closing and reopening.
  • Meanwhile, in a piece for Project Syndicate, economist Lisa Gennetian wrote that children are paying a huge price for the pandemic, which is pushing more of them into poverty. School shutdowns pose an added burden, she argued, for instance by cutting off children’s access to school meals.
  • Duke Center for Child and Family Policy Director Leslie Babinski took a look at one group of students – English language learners – in a piece for Education Week, writing that those students need more support during remote learning.
  • And as the pandemic wore on, physicians Charlene Wong and Sarah Armstrong argued in The Hill that we’re asking the wrong questions about school reopening.