Progress Report: America’s Schools


Everything that’s happening in a country eventually passes through the doorway of its schools — and so schools, like the rest of America, are going through a lot right now. An entire generation of students missed a year, even two, of normal education in the pandemic. As soon as they re-entered classrooms, what they were learning became the center of a relentless education culture war. All that is layered over the issues that have long plagued education in the US.

Where do all of those upheavals leave us? What lessons have the last few years taught the American education system – and what do we still need to learn?

In this issue of the Highlight, we take you inside some of the biggest issues in education. Schools are where the future is formed. What happens in them will matter for generations to come.

Libby Nelson (Policy Editor) and Ryan McCarthy (Editorial Director)

Gracia Lam for Vox

The pandemic took young people’s present. What will it do to their future?

By Bryan Walsh

Gracia Lam for Vox

The hours between school dismissal and the end of the workday are a mess. They don’t have to be.

By Rachel M. Cohen

Illustration depicting the Supreme Court building resting atop a large dollar bill atop a school building.

Jiayue Li for Vox

A Supreme Court decision 50 years ago may have been shaped by the claim that poor children of color can’t learn. The case’s impact has reverberated for generations.

By Matt Barnum

Jiayue Li for Vox

Social-emotional learning has been a basic — and uncontroversial — part of education for decades. So why are conservatives waging a war against it?

By Fabiola Cineas

An illustration shows an open math workbook and a pencil writing numbers in it, while the previous page disintegrates and floats away.

Jiayue Li for Vox

The homework wars are back.

By Jacob Sweet


Editors: Marina Bolotnikova, Ryan McCarthy, Libby Nelson, Elbert Ventura
Copy editors/fact-checkers: Elizabeth Crane, Kim Eggleston, Tanya Pai, Caitlin PenzeyMoog
Art direction: Dion Lee
Audience: Gabriela Fernandez, Shira Tarlo, Agnes Mazur
Production/project editors: Susannah Locke, Lauren Katz, Nathan Hall


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