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Supporting efforts to address learning loss and ensure positive school environments

APA supports legislation to mitigate education and learning loss in all students, as schools work to address the impacts of COVID-19.

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Polishchuk, K. (2021, February 24). Supporting efforts to address learning loss and ensure positive school environments.

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APA has endorsed several recently introduced bills aimed at mitigating COVID-19 related learning loss, building more positive school climates, stabilizing the educator workforce impacted by the pandemic, and supporting low-income students and those with disabilities.

APA worked with the House Education and Labor Committee to include the perspective of psychological science in the Learning Recovery Act (PDF, 228KB) (H.R. 676). The committee incorporated several of APA’s teaching and learning recommendations (PDF, 228KB), including providing more support services for mental and emotional health, more professional development on social and emotional learning for educators and other staff, implementing screenings for adverse childhood experiences, and employing culturally competent practices. The bill provides $75 billion in flexible funding over two years for school districts to engage in a variety of programs to help mitigate learning loss, including summer school, extended school days, and tutoring. It also directs the Institute of Education Sciences to further study the issue.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi’s (D-Ill.) State Taskforce Opportunity Program (STOP) Bullying Act (H.R. 549) establishes a grant program for states to create an anti-bullying task force, which would convene educators and community leaders to evaluate and strengthen school prevention efforts and must include both a child and school psychologist among its members.

“Hostile conditions in school settings can have a negative impact on the psychological well-being, social and emotional development, and academic achievement of children. This is particularly pernicious for students from marginalized groups, such as LBGTQ+ students, students of color, or those with a disability," said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association. “APA applauds Representative Krishnamoorthi for introducing legislation that would help ensure a positive and safe school climate for every student and recognizes the critical role psychologists play in achieving this goal.”

The Save Education Jobs Act (H.R. 542), introduced by Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) would strengthen the education workforce by addressing the loss of teachers and other critical personnel, such as school-based mental health providers, across the country. The bill aligns with APA’s continued advocacy to help mitigate achievement gaps and address the behavioral and emotional well-being of students. It would serve as a jobs stimulus by providing up to $261 billion to states and school districts over 10 years to save education jobs, including those of teachers, school psychologists, paraprofessionals, social workers, nurses, and specialized instructional support personnel.

Finally, the bicameral Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act (S.72/H.R.764), introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.) would fully fund Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—which provides support for schools serving high numbers of low-income students—and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. APA strongly supports equitable access to educational opportunities for students regardless of socioeconomic status or for those with unique needs. This legislation aligns with these efforts.

For more information, contact Kenneth Polishchuk.