Senate Panel Examines Strategies to Recover from Current Education Challenges
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing, “Supporting Students and Schools: Promising Practices to Get Back on Track.” The hearing highlighted testimonies from four witnesses: Dan Goldhaber (Director, National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research at American Institutes for Research); Charlene Russell-Tucker (Commissioner, Connecticut State Department of Education); Kurt Russell (2022 National Teacher of the Year); and Erin Wall (Parent). The hearing focused on the major challenges facing K-12 education brought on by the trifecta of COVID-19, educator shortages, and the mental health crisis, and its disproportional impact on those furthest from opportunity. Panelists pointed to ways to mitigate these challenges through continued investments in learning outside regular school hours through tutoring and summer programs, support for school-based mental health professionals, and initiatives to address educator shortages, including compensation. Wall, a parent of three including Carter, a child with a disability, testified that he did not receive any services at the beginning of school closures, and that when schools reopened virtually in Fall, 2020, an adult needed to be with him at all times during virtual learning. She noted that special educators are asked to do a significant amount. Additional witnesses and committee members highlighted the disparate impact on students with disabilities and their families due to the pandemic and advocated for additional services to mitigate this impact along with quick action to bolster the special education workforce.
To view the hearing and read written testimony, go here.