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Parents of at least some means are eyeing private schools more frequently.

Why it matters: Christopher Lubienski, an education policy professor at Indiana University, told Axios that parents' growing interest in private schools, pods and tutors will likely "promote privatization" in the U.S. education system and could "undercut the commitment to public education."

The big picture: Lubienski said a surge in enrollment at private schools could lead to greater inequality among families who don't have the resources to go beyond the public education system.

  • The privatization of the school system could lead to “greater social segregation” between students of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Public schools are "one of the few remaining institutions that temper inequality," Lubienski notes.

Between the lines: A poll from the nonprofit Murmuration and Morning Consult suggests Black parents and children lacked the same access to high-quality public education before the pandemic as their white counterparts.

The state of play: Private schools also feel the pressure to commit to in-person learning because they fear enrollment will drop, resulting in a loss in tuition and profit, the Poynter Institute notes.

  • In the Washington, D.C., area, the Silver Oaks Cooperative School, a small K-5 school just outside the city, has seen a surge in parents looking to enroll their children, WAMU reports. The school opened two years ago and has seen its reputation leap as parents vie to get their children into a classroom.
  • In St. Paul, Minnesota, St. Joseph Catholic School has a waitlist for the first time, with inquiries "off the charts," per the Star Tribune.
  • In Sacramento, California, the Brookfield School, a private elementary school, has seen about four times the interest in admissions as in previous years, the Sacramento Bee notes.

What to watch: The surge in private school enrollments, education pods and private tutors could ultimately move support away from public schools in a post-coronavirus world.

Go deeper

Dec 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Miguel Cardona emerges as Biden's choice to open schools

Photo: DNCC via Getty Images

Joe Biden is leaning toward nominating Miguel Cardona, education commissioner in Connecticut, to serve as secretary of the Department of Education and lead a reopening of the country's schools, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: Cardona, who has focused on reopening schools in his home state, emerged as the president-elect leaned away from another potential candidate, Leslie Fenwick, dean emeritus at Howard University, and two teacher's union candidates. A final decision has not been made.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.

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