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Post-Pandemic Pod Schools in a Velvet Rope Economy

In days all our students are coming back to their classroom, one thing that remains untreated and few are paying attention to is is the social divide. Education is not only about buildings and camaraderie, it is about personal connection writes Professor Steven Wilf from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

He refers to the ascending of these new Pod Schools or micro-schools which are small groups of children who happen to gather together for socialization and in-home instruction aimed at overseeing the remote school. The problem is that not all students can afford this personalized learning causing what author Nelson Schwartz has called a velvet rope economy most commonly see it at airports or health service facilities. 

Photo: Public Domain

Steven Wild wrote:

Before the pandemic, successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs were already limiting screen time and seeking tech-free educations for their children. Rich parents will continue to pay for schools that provide maximum individual attention through tutoring, special services for counseling, and — this is especially true for Ivy League institutions in higher education -all sorts of pampering. After the virus took hold, wealthy families dissatisfied with online education quickly began to form private “pod schools” with in-person tutors and teachers for small groups of children.

Anyone familiar with college knows that individual attention is the rarest commodity. In elite institutions, papers are carefully analyzed by professors and soon-to-be-professor graduate assistants. The sciences offer research opportunities in top-flight laboratories, the humanities allow for frequent opportunity to travel abroad. Students are often taken under the wing of a particular faculty member. Numerous extracurricular activities, residential college living, dining -especially at places such as Princeton and Yale— and mentorship systems build networks.


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