Leaders of a newly launched Public Schools Caucus in Congress plan to mount a bipartisan effort to rethink public education in the wake of COVID and the educational challenges it exposed. The group’s work will center on reversing the learning loss students suffered during remote learning, teacher absences and other disruptions of the pandemic, according to a report by District Administration.

The goal is to rebuild public schools to provide all students with pathways to economic and social mobility. The caucus will seek to leverage K-12 innovations that proved successful during the pandemic to build more resilient schools and improve student outcomes. Year-round schooling is one model the caucus may examine.

Giving teachers more flexibility over instruction is another concept that would benefit students and potentially stem the tide of teacher shortages, some experts say, as the K-12 system has become “federal Department of Education-focused,” leading to a one-size-fits-all approach in many classrooms.

Other teacher retention and recruitment measures could include loan repayment, scholarships, increasing pay, revising credentialing requirements and examining how much districts pay teachers vs. administrators.

Also being discussed are expansion of vocational pathway programs such as the dual degree P-Tech program initiated by IBM. High school students can earn associate’s degrees and a head start into employment with the tech giant.

And charter schools and parental choice have roles to play in K-12’s recovery from the pandemic. Some have pointed to New York City’s carefully regulated and nonprofit charter systems, such as the Success Academy, which predominantly serves students of color and low-income populations.