As the pandemic enters its third year, more evidence is emerging about the damage suffered by children and young adults.
School closures and losses in math and reading skills could result in a $17T global decline in lifetime earnings for today’s students,
according to a December report
from the UN and the World Bank. And the report found that the crisis is worsening educational inequities, with lower-income students, girls, and students with disabilities facing the biggest challenges.
of The New York Times this week described
the potential for a lost generation, citing alarming data on suicide attempts, gun violence, and behavioral problems among children and adolescents. He wrote about hard decisions over allowing K-12 students to resume normal life, which could create additional risks amid the Omicron surge for unvaccinated adults or those who are vaccinated but elderly or immunocompromised.
Many Americans have not adequately grappled with the inherent trade-offs in those decisions, he wrote:
They have accepted more harm to children in exchange for less harm to adults, often without acknowledging the dilemma or assessing which decisions lead to less overall harm.
Some colleges are going to crack soon, Kent Syverud, the chancellor and president of Syracuse University, told Politico.
“I’ve seen institutions getting more and more fragile, including very highly regarded institutions,” he said, “and I’m worried that if we don’t have greater confidence and certainty going into the fall of 2022, it’s going to be really bad.”
Community colleges and their students have been hit the hardest—the sector’s enrollment is down 15 percent
over two years. Yet Bill Pink, president of Grand Rapids Community College, hits a hopeful note in an essay this week for Work Shift.
Never in his career have Americans so relied on the community college sector to help drive a recovery, Pink writes:
The last 20 months have been every bit of a precarious situation for our country, and in particular higher education. Yet, as I think about my college, as well as the 1,100 other community and technical colleges in this country, I firmly believe that this is going to be OUR finest hour.
However, Pink warns that two-year colleges must prioritize collaboration with K-12 schools, four-year institutions, and the industries that hire their graduates. “The Quad,” as Pink calls that four-way collaboration, creates clarity for students as they enter and exit the career highway.