Studies of the 1997 Asian financial crisis suggest that impacts of economic shocks on education are ambiguous and vary according to gender, income, and location. The crisis exacerbated previous disparities, with gaps between girls and boys, and urban and rural education widening. Secondary school enrolment sustained the greatest impact. Countries' high commitment to education, as evidenced by increased household expenditures and government social protection programmes, helped protect education. Lessons from 1997 serve as a useful framework for considering potential policy responses to the 2007-08 crisis. Getting policies right is important given the current education landscape, where disparities continue to persist. The paper provides an analysis of the state of education in East Asia and the Pacific. It then analyzes experiences from the 1997 crisis and government policy responses since 1997. It argues that quick and sustained action is important. Social protection measures should be institutionalized to prepare for future crises.