Gov. Ricketts Highlights Educational Initiative to Address Learning Loss

(KFOR NEWS  March 16, 2022)   Governor Pete Ricketts is calling on State Senators to support Legislative Bill (LB) 1240 to assist K-12 students who experienced learning loss during the pandemic.

“As the Legislature considers how to spend federal pandemic funds, I’m encouraging them to prioritize our kids,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Remote learning didn’t meet the needs of all students during the pandemic.  Educational recovery accounts empower families to help their children get back on track academically.  The flexibility of the accounts gives parents the freedom to choose the approach best suited to their children’s needs.”

All K-12 students in Nebraska missed the final two months of the academic year in the spring of 2020 after schools closed due to the coronavirus.  Many students in Nebraska’s largest school districts in Omaha and Lincoln went nearly a year without being able to learn in-person, five days per week.  The Governor thanked educators across the state for working hard to transition to online instruction after the coronavirus came to Nebraska.  He also credited the state’s schools for helping Nebraska rank among the top states in the nation for getting kids back in the classroom.

At the same time, the Governor referenced studies demonstrating that remote learning was not as effective as in-class instruction.  On average, remote learners fell behind in their academic progress, especially in math.  High school students learning remotely in Nebraska’s largest school districts were much more likely to fail two or more courses.

Senator Joni Albrecht urged her colleagues in the Legislature to support LB 1240, which would create Family-Directed Education Recovery Accounts.  If a K-12 student is eligible for the federal free lunch program, then their family would qualify for an education recovery account to support the child’s learning.  For each eligible child, families would receive up to $2,000 of benefit per school year for educational services such as tutoring, digital learning subscriptions, or private school tuition.

Brent Myers, a teacher in the Bellevue Public School system, gave firsthand experience of the superiority of classroom learning.  He talked of the importance of pursuing all available approaches to help kids make up for time they lost in the classroom.

Kayla Buchan of Omaha described the educational setbacks her child encountered due to the coronavirus pandemic.  She emphasized her family’s financial need for tutoring resources to make up for the disruption of the pandemic.

Information on LB 1240 is available by clicking here.

Video of today’s press conference can be found by clicking here.

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