CEC President-Elect Danielle Kovach, Ed.D., Testifies Before Congress
On Thursday, CEC President-Elect Danielle Kovach, Ed.D., testified before the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education at a hearing about addressing the impact of COVID-19 on students with disabilities.
In his opening remarks, Subcommittee Chairman Kilili Sablan (D-NMI) asserted that pandemic disruptions to education have been worst for students with disabilities, who have faced longstanding barriers. He looked to panelists to share lessons learned from the pandemic and ways to improve outcomes for students with disabilities and uphold their rights to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Subcommittee Member Rick Allen (R-GA) acted as Ranking Member and focused his remarks on the need to reopen all schools for the sake of students’ mental health, education, and so that students with disabilities can receive all the specialized supports they are entitled to.
Dr. Kovach shared her personal experiences over the last year, describing how she adapted to virtual learning; supported students, families, and her school team; and ultimately returned to in-person teaching in a much different environment. She applauded Congress’s swift action to provide emergency funds for education and urged the Committee to take a longer term approach to special education that includes meaningful investments in the educator pipeline and fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Kovach concluded, “special education teachers, like all teachers, will do anything to help their students succeed, but they could do so much more, for so many more students, with sustainable investments.”
You can watch the full hearing on YouTube, with Dr. Kovach's remarks beginning around the 1:03 mark.