Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

An empty classroom in New York City, which closed its schools earlier this month because of rising COVID-19 levels. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

School districts are reporting declining grades as students struggle to adjust to the challenges of remote education.

Why it matters: It's bad enough that many children around the country are receiving sub-par remote schooling. But in an economy that will increasingly reward cognitive skills, those struggling today risk being left behind permanently.

What's happening: The Washington Post reported this week that an internal analysis by Virginia's Fairfax County — one of the largest school districts in the country, and one that has been operating largely online — found that the percentage of middle school and high school students earning F's in at least two classes had increased 83% from the same time last year.

  • More than 40% of students in Houston's Independent School District are earning failing grades in at least two of their classes, while nearly 40% of public high-schoolers in St. Paul, Minnesota, have failing marks.
  • In New York, the nation's largest school system, 60,000 kids can't even participate in remote learning because they lack the necessary devices.
  • A "60 Minutes" report on Sunday found that in a single county school district in Tampa, 7,000 students have simply disappeared, never logging in for remote classes.

Be smart: There are kids who would've gone to college but won't, who would've graduated from high school but won't, because this country has prioritized other, riskier activities over in-person schooling.

  • For too many kids — and especially for those who were already disadvantaged — remote education is like a band-aid that won't stick.

What's next: When these kids do become adults, they'll be entering an economy that will place an even greater premium on the cognitive skills that can only be obtained through education.

  • Robots aren't coming for all of our jobs, but technology is automating low-skilled, repetitive tasks.
  • "Education and training are central to helping the current and next generation thrive in the labor market," said Elisabeth Reynolds, the executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, at an event last week.

The bottom line: CEOs and politicians love to tell Americans that they need to up their skills to thrive in a more competitive economy. Yet during the pandemic, we've crippled their ability to do so.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 23, 2020 - Axios Events

Reskilling America: The path for post-pandemic job recovery

Learning new skills will be essential for many Americans who lost jobs as a result of COVID-19, since many of the jobs will not be returning. But not everyone can reskill the traditional way.

Why it’s important: To thrive in a rapidly changing job market, American workers will have to rethink their approach to skills and work.

As one expert at Google’s Powering Economic Opportunity: New Pathways to Job Recovery event put it: Job seekers must now be life-long learners.

At the event, policy makers, local government, nonprofit leaders and other experts talked about how they can pool resources and work together to better prepare American workers for today’s job market.

Their top three solutions:

  • Expand access to free or nearly free digital tools and training, like Grow with Google’s free digital training and resources.
  • Develop online courses and certificates — like Google Career Certificates — and a way to scale these offerings to communities that need it most to train a more equitable workforce
  • Encourage life-long learning and make reskilling resources more accessible to people.

According to Grow with Google VP Lisa Gevelber, “For years, Google has supported digital skilling programs and created pathways to help people secure good-paying jobs. Accessible job-training solutions will help people get hired into jobs that will be most relevant in the post-pandemic economy."

What this means: Companies are developing digital tools and programs that help people better understand the digital world, job skills training, and career certificates that job seekers can use to pursue in-demand, better-wage careers.

Oftentimes, these companies partner with governments, nonprofits and higher education institutions to help bridge the gap.

  • One example: Grow with Google offers digital tools and training to people looking to start new jobs or careers.

    Google’s online Career Certificates prepare people with no experience for jobs in high-growth, high-paying fields including IT Support, User Experience (UX) Design, and Data Analytics in 3-6 months with no degree required.

Key numbers: “We have over 400,000 people enrolled in these programs already, and a hundred employers across America who are hiring the certificate graduates. Top companies in retail, entertainment and finance, and, of course, Google,” Gevelber said.

Even more, Grow with Google has partnered with Jobs for the Future (JFF) to help bring these career certificates to over a hundred community colleges around the U.S.

The impact: Students across Illinois and Alabama “really see their job prospects increase after completing a certificate,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of Jobs of the Future.

  • One Ohio student who listed her certificate credentials online has received five times more searches per week and several interview invitations.

When asked how local governments can get involved, Flynn suggested “expanding access to high-quality, short-term credentials like the Google certificate.” This helps meet the urgent need to reskill workers as well as the longer-term needs for creating better quality jobs.”

The takeaway: Making certificates, and other alternative career pathways, more accessible opens up a world where it’s easier for people to reskill for a new career – or a lifetime.

What Google is saying:

“What we are seeing on a positive note is how resilient Americans are, and we're seeing them put technology to work.”

– Lisa Gevelber, Vice President, Grow with Google

Learn more.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.