Gluesenkamp Perez, Molinaro Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address Pandemic Learning Loss Among Students with Disabilities

Mar 20, 2024

Last week, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) and Rep. Marc Molinaro (NY-19) introduced the bipartisan Think DIFFERENTLY About Ending Learning Loss Act. The bill would direct the Department of Education to study the effects of learning loss for students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools in Southwest Washington and across the nation experienced prolonged in-person closures and adapted or reduced special education-related services. Students with disabilities were particularly affected, with limited or no access to essential therapies and extensive time away from the classroom, leading to Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals becoming no longer attainable.

This legislation will direct a study that highlights the unique needs of these students so educators, parents, and lawmakers can develop informed solutions to address learning loss and improve the responsiveness of our schools in crisis situations.

“Pandemic-related learning loss affected students across Southwest Washington, with especially dire impacts on those with an Individualized Education Program. Nearly half of these students receiving special education services faced reduced frequency and duration through the pandemic,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “This bipartisan legislation will allow us to make informed decisions to help our students recover, as well as ensure schools understand the full impacts of remote learning policies on students with disabilities.”

“Very little attention has been given to the educational needs of students with disabilities and the setbacks they endured during the pandemic. As a father of a child on the autism spectrum, I saw learning loss firsthand,” said Rep. Molinaro. “We can’t allow students with disabilities to just be left behind. This bipartisan effort will work to ensure students with disabilities get additional support to address the learning loss that occurred.”

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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