Pennsylvania Senate approves offering extra year of education to address pandemic learning gaps

Legislation would give parents until July 15 to decide whether their child should repeat a grade or advance.
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The Pennsylvania Senate approved a bill to offset learning disruptions caused by COVID-19 by giving parents the option to allow their children to repeat a grade level for the 2021-22 school year.

Senate Bill 664, authored by Sen. Jake Coreman, R-Bellefonte, would give parents until July 15 to decide whether their child should repeat a grade level or advance to the next.

The legislation would also give parents the option to extend enrollment in special education programs. This provision would make up for specialized education that students missed due to the pandemic before they age out of the system at age 21.

In addition, eligibility would be extended during the next school year for programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The Arc of Pennsylvania supports the bill.

“I have been hearing concerns from many fellow parents on how the pandemic has affected their child’s education and created learning gaps from much of the past year learning at home,” Corman said. “Some students have struggled, and it makes sense to give parents a stronger say in whether their child should advance to the next grade level or repeat a grade to make up for learning loss.”

The bill was passed to Gov. Tom Wolf who has 10 days to sign or veto the bill or allow it to become law without his signature.