‘Peabody Journal of Education’ issue addresses COVID-19’s impact on education policy, equity and social justice


by Jenna Somers

Peabody Journal of Education: Vol 97, No 3 (Current issue)

The Peabody Journal of Education is one of the first education policy journals to document the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the politics of education using rigorous, peer-reviewed studies.

Published in July, the latest issue, “The Politics of COVID-19 and Educational Inequities,” focuses on the pandemic’s consequences for equity and social justice, with insights on the PK-16 education system’s initial response to COVID-19 and how the first year of the pandemic affected education and educational inequality. Collectively, the articles in this issue suggest a critical need for further research on the educational, ethical and political concerns related to the pandemic.

Three articles from the issue are currently available at no cost:

  • “The Politics of COVID-19 and Educational Inequities” introduces the issue, providing historical context to its themes and summaries of the articles.
  • “The Role of Inequity in School Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic” explores how schools responded to the stress of the pandemic, how school principals described the resulting inequities and the relationship between social inequity and school responses. The researchers found that social circumstances played a key role in the adversity of educators and that inequity significantly impacted schools’ return to functioning.
  • “Crisis Upon Crisis: Refugee Education Responses Amid COVID-19” explores COVID-19 education policies and practices at the global level and within the local context of Syrian refugee education in Lebanon. This study reveals a disconnect between global COVID-19 education practices and the complexities of countries experiencing multiple crises, suggesting that international stakeholders may not have the capacity or understanding to address multi-crisis environments in education. The researchers discuss the implications of this finding to better address power and equity in refugee education.

The issue also features articles by two Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development faculty:

  • “School Discipline in the Age of COVID-19: Exploring Patterns, Policy, and Practice Considerations” by Richard Welsh, associate professor of leadership, policy and organizations, addresses the impacts of COVID-19 on disciplinary policies and practices in schools with an emphasis on racial inequality in exclusionary discipline. The findings of this study suggest a need for student-focused interventions and on-the-job support for educators in cultural responsivity training and classroom management.
  • “The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Recession on Career Preparation during High School” by Shaun Dougherty, associate professor of public policy and education; researchers at Florida State University and the University of Pennsylvania; and Sophie McGuinness, a doctoral student at Peabody College, examines the pandemic’s impact on disruptions in learning, particularly for students pursuing career and technical education. Results of this study show that CTE students experienced smaller declines in graduation and workforce entry compared to the broader population of students, shedding light on the flexibility and resourcefulness of CTE learning environments to serve students under the pressures of the pandemic.

“This Peabody Journal of Education volume marks one of the earliest and most comprehensive efforts designed to document in detail the impact of the pandemic on parents, teachers and students across multiple schooling environments, from elementary school to higher education,” said Claire Smrekar, associate professor of public policy and education and editor of the Peabody Journal of Education. “The field research captured in this issue highlights the compelling and enduring effects of this pandemic on the lives of educators and families and should inform education policies at the school, district and university levels moving forward.”

Associate Professor of Leadership, Policy and Organizations Claire Smrekar (Vanderbilt University)
Claire Smrekar (Vanderbilt University)

As America’s second-longest-running publication on educational research, practice and policy, the Peabody Journal of Education is published five times annually on topics related to formal institutions serving students from early childhood through tertiary education, as well as institutions providing vocational training and those serving students with disabilities. Each issue examines a common theme through a range of contexts.

For more information about the Peabody Journal of Education, please contact PJE@vanderbilt.edu. To purchase a subscription, please visit the publisher, Taylor & Francis Group. Issues of the journal are also available through the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries.