March 17th, 2021

Educator Voice: Dr. Justin Feldman and journalist Rachel Cohen on debates around opening schools

Dr. Justin Feldman, epidemiologist, speaking on PBS NewsHour EXTRA Educator Zoom

On March 9, NewsHour EXTRA held its Educator Zoom series with epidemiologist Dr. Justin Feldman of Harvard’s FXB Center for Health & Human Rights, and Rachel Cohen, freelance journalist, along with our wonderful teacher-host Sari Beth Rosenberg. Cohen recently wrote an article  in the New Republic on school re-openings that takes a nuanced approach to the interests of teachers and unions, parents, students, government officials and advocacy groups. Dr. Feldman‘s co-wrote an article in Jacobin on a “safe, solidaristic approach to opening schools,” shifting the blame away from unions which have received it often over the last year.

Though the conversation was not recorded in full so that educators could be candid without fear of reprisal, we did record a debrief with Cohen and Feldman, which is presented as clips below.

If you are a school faculty or staff member and would like to sign up for NewsHour EXTRA’s Educator Zooms, click here.

Highlight clips:

Dr. Feldman offers his overall takeaway from the educator check-in, including the need for teachers to feel heard

Journalist Rachel Cohen describes her takeaways, including the clear need to address the stress of not only students but also educators and staff after this year.

Dr. Feldman describes the gap between the vision researchers and officials have for safe opening and the actual conditions prevalent in many schools.

Dr. Feldman considers the equity gap between schools with abundant resources for reopening and those that do not.

Rachel Cohen explains some of the lessons from her reporting, including the problem of experts from different fields and representing different interests not listening to each other. 

Sari Beth Rosenberg describes some of the stress and challenges in her own classroom. 

If you would like to contribute to Educator Voice, NewsHour EXTRA’s blog on how current events affect life for educators including school personnel, please send your idea to Vic Pasquantonio at

Follow us:





PBS NewsHour education stories newsletter

Updates for EXTRA’s Super Civics election teaching resources doc

Submit Your Student Voice

NewsHour Extra will not use contact information for any purpose other than our own records. We do not share information with any other organization.

RSS Content

Tooltip of RSS content 3