Key committee supports McNamara's bill helping students impacted by pandemic

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Friday, January 29, 2021

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 29, 2021) – State Rep. Wendy McNamara's (R-Evansville) legislation that would establish the Student Learning Recovery Grant Program to help students experiencing learning loss due to the pandemic advanced out of the House Ways and Means Committee.  

According to McNamara, students transitioning back and forth between e-learning and classroom learning are likely to experience some form of learning loss. McNamara's proposal would create a $150 million grant program to provide individuals or organizations resources to help students who have fallen behind in class, scored below academic standards or are at risk of falling behind.

"We want to ensure all students have the opportunity to reach their full potential," McNamara said. "This grant program is designed to close learning gaps created by the pandemic, and connect students with tools and resources to catch up to their peers. While the steps schools have taken over the last year have been necessary to keep our children and educators safe, we must now work to ensure students catch up and get ahead."

McNamara said many students experience some form of learning loss after summer break, but most are typically able to relearn forgotten lessons quickly. However, a recent study completed by Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes, shows the average Indiana student lost 129 days of reading knowledge and 209 days of math knowledge as a result of COVID-19 disruptions.  

Program criteria for grants would be determined by the Indiana Department of Education, along with the State Board of Education. McNamara said applying organizations, which could include local schools, colleges or universities, community or philanthropic organizations, and prospective, current and retired educators, would be required to submit a plan detailing the programs that would supplement a student's regular coursework. The DOE would be responsible for overseeing the grant program.

Visit iga.in.gov for more information on House Bill 1008. This legislation now moves to the full Indiana House of Representatives for further consideration.

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State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) represents House District 76, 
which includes portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties.

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