School superintendents are hearing two urgent and contradictory messages as the nation works to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re being told to help their students and systems “recover” quickly. They need to open buildings, get students and teachers in them and make up for learning loss as quickly as possible. Billions of dollars are flowing from Washington in support of these things.

At the same time, system leaders hear another message: “reinvent.” They should not return to the status quo, but instead learn from the pandemic and create new approaches that provide greater equity in learning opportunities and outcomes. Some of the federal dollars could be used for this as well.

Despite the additional resources, these two imperatives are largely contradictory. Recovery is returning to a normal state, while reinvention involves changing something to the point that it appears entirely new. School systems may be able to recover in important ways, such as addressing or at least mitigating learning loss, as they reinvent. But reinvention is a far from obvious outcome because it requires defying gravity.

Read the full article about changes to our education system by Susan Lusi and Rob Jentsch at The 74.