Noted education scholar Andy Hargreaves questions the alternatives that are likely to follow the end of the pandemic: Will government impose deep cuts and austerity, or will they recognize the importance of funding better education for all students?

He poses the choice in this abstract of his paper:

One looming possibility is an onrush of austerity, deep cuts to public education, financial hardship for the working and middle classes, and a range of private sector, including online answers to public problems in education, leading to more inequity, and an even wider digital divide. The pandemic, it is argued, is already being used as a strategy to bring about educational privatization by stealth by mismanaging return-to-school strategies and by overselling the effectiveness of online and private school alternatives. The alternative is public education investment to pursue prosperity and better quality of life for everyone. This will reduce inequality instead of increasing it, close the digital divide that COVID-19 has exposed, and encourage balanced technology use to enhance good teaching rather than hybrid or blended technology delivery that may increasingly replace such teaching.