Indiana education officials and lawmakers discuss potential solutions to learning loss


INDIANAPOLIS – At a summer study committee meeting on Monday, officials from the Indiana Department of Education met with state lawmakers to discuss lost learning during the COVID pandemic -19 and ways to catch up with students.

“We also know that the rates of learning to recover are unprecedented,” said Charity Flores, academic director of Indiana.

During Monday’s presentation to state lawmakers, IDOE leaders discussed some of their biggest findings regarding the pandemic’s impact on academics.

Among those findings, math was hit more severely than English, possibly requiring more than a year to bring students back to pre-pandemic performance levels, Flores explained. For some students, it could take three to five years to catch up, she added.

“We know that in order for students to reach the level they were before the pandemic, we need to foster new classroom environments,” Flores said.

Indiana Education Secretary Katie Jenner said it would take a multi-faceted approach to catching up with students, involving families, governments and community groups, in addition to teachers.

IDOE tracks the impact of the roughly $ 125 million in state grants that went earlier this summer to programs focused on this effort, Jenner said.

Mind Trust’s five-week summer program with the subsidized United Way of Central Indiana improved student performance by an average of 12% in English and 17% in math, according to Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust.

“We knew that the major impact that we have seen in schools over the past year and a half cannot be completely addressed by schools alone,” he said.

Some other programs that have received grants report similar progress.

“We know statistics show that young learners who fall behind in literacy often don’t catch up,” said Linda Rose, academic director of Motivate Our Minds in Muncie, whose summer literacy program also runs. received a grant. “We were therefore able to definitively meet a need of many students in this way. “

IDOE also works to ensure that federal funding for schools is used effectively, Secretary Jenner said.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers say the loss of learning will require several years of discussion in the legislature.

“I don’t think just throwing money at this issue will be effective,” said State Senator JD Ford (D-Indianapolis), who sits on the interim education review committee. “I also don’t think testing our solution to this problem will be effective. So I really think we need to take a step back, look at the holistic way of doing it. “

“We have heard testimony about accountability and transparency,” said State Senator Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond), who chairs the Interim Study Committee on Education. “Although that is part of the answer, it will not be the reply. As we look into the future, this may require additional funding. “

Another $ 22 million in state grant funding will soon be available for programs that help students catch up with their learning, Secretary Jenner said.


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