By Phyllis Lockett
K-12 students returned to school this year amid what Education Week called “a perfect storm of bad news.” Reading and math scores declined sharply during the pandemic, particularly among students who were already struggling. In my home state, we learned from the state’s annual report card, and Advance Illinois’ latest report that in addition to significant gaps in academic achievement, our schools have seen significant declines in student enrollment and widespread teacher burnout; and our students have faced mounting inequities and diminished wellbeing all amid chronic absenteeism and rising truancy rates.
As these examples show, we must undertake a seismic restructuring of our education system if we’re to overcome these challenges. It can’t be about patching the cracks in the foundation, but about building a new foundation altogether.
In his new book, From Reopen to Reinvent: (Re)creating School for Every Child, noted author and cofounder of the Clayton Christensen Institute Michael B. Horn provides a clear-eyed blueprint for what that foundation should look like. I recently spoke with Horn during a convening of the Yass Prize community about the need to completely reinvent our system of K-12 education and how we might want to approach that work.