House subcommittee aims to address academic and attendance challenges

Insights gained from the impact of COVID-19 on K-12 education indicate the negative consequences of prolonged school closures and the necessity for increased spending and accountability for federal relief funding, according to lawmakers and panelists who spoke at a House Subcommittee on Healthcare and Financial Services hearing on Tuesday.

Although some speakers criticized decision-making during the pandemic, others emphasized the importance of addressing the academic challenges moving forward. Widely agreed upon solutions include high-intensity tutoring and combatting chronic absenteeism.

During the hearing, Nat Malkus, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, explained to lawmakers that the slow progress in improving attendance following school closures means attendance rates may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2030. He also noted that absenteeism had a more severe impact on lower-performing schools with high poverty rates.

“Overcoming learning loss is dependent on addressing absenteeism, which can hinder interventions such as tutoring or extended learning time,” said Malkus.

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