Never before has the American education system been put under a microscope — sometimes literally — the way it was in 2020. It was education’s worst year. But as the months crawled by, researchers kept collecting data and putting surveys in the field. They gave us a picture of which kids were most at risk of falling behind, how fast they might catch up with a dose of high-intensity tutoring, and why local leaders were deciding to reopen schools to in-person learning. Beyond the studies looking specifically at the effects of the pandemic, we continued to learn about the ways in which the nation’s 130,000 elementary and secondary schools make an impact on the lives of children.