GAO Releases Report on K-12 English Learners and Students with Disabilities During COVID-19
Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, “Distance Learning: Challenges Providing Services to K-12 English Learners and Students with Disabilities during COVID-19.” The report, part of the GAO’s monitoring and oversight duties of COVID-19 established through the CARES Act, highlights the logistical and instructional challenges faced by English learners and students with disabilities after schools shifted to virtual learning last spring.
Using data from 15 districts—selected for their high proportion of either English learners or students with disabilities—the GAO found that English learners did not fully participate in distance learning due to lack of resources and the inability of families to adequately assist with coursework. Likewise, a variety of factors contributed to challenges in delivering instruction to students with disabilities, including the wide range of student needs, meeting IEP requirements virtually, and parents’ abilities to support their students through virtual learning.
The report shares how school districts addressed these challenges, including partnering with a Spanish language TV network, adapting materials for students based on their learning needs, and encouraging collaboration between general and special education teachers to modify instruction.