IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Covid's unequal impact on engagement with online learning and enrolment in state schools

09 December 2021, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

3D model of a search engine search bar

In this webinar, Joshua Goodman will present the research on how US households sought out online learning resources as schools closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic using high frequency internet search data in real time.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Khrystyna Myhasiuk

By April 2020, nationwide search intensity for both school- and parent-centered online learning resources had roughly doubled relative to pre-Covid levels, with higher income areas seeing substantially larger increases than lower income areas. Student-level administrative data from Michigan and nationally representative data from the Census also show that enrolment in state schools declined noticeably in fall 2020, with about 3% of Michigan students and 10% of kindergartners using other options.

Most of this was driven by homeschooling rates jumping substantially among families with children in elementary school. Kindergarten declines were highest among low income and Black families while declines in other grades were highest among higher income and White families, highlighting important heterogeneity by students’ existing attachment to public schools. 

All of these results suggest that Covid is likely to widen existing inequalities in educational outcomes given households' differential capacities to adapt to the pandemic's shock to educational systems.

This event will be particularly useful for those interested in education policy, online learning, and education inequality.

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About the Speaker

Joshua Goodman

Associate Professor of Education and Economics at Boston University

Joshua Goodman works as an applied microeconomist on labor economics and education policy, based at Boston University.

His work has been published in peer-reviewed outlets such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, AEJ: Applied Economics, AEJ: Economic Policy, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Human Resources and the Journal of Economic Perspectives. It has been cited in multiple White House reports and featured by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and National Public Radio.

He serves as co-editor of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) and is a research fellow of NBER and CESifo. Prior to starting his PhD, he was a public high school maths teacher in Watertown, Massachusetts, USA.