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Lawmakers look at how to help Ohio kids who lost academic ground during the pandemic

students in classroom
Dan Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Students learn in-person in a Licking Heights High School classroom in 2019, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that officials can quantify how much learning the pandemic has caused students to miss, the focus is turning toward how to help students catch up.

Ohio’s education leaders say they know some kids lost ground when most of the state's schools went to remote learning in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And since then, a lot of effort has gone into making sure schools can keep kids in the classroom. Some schools have installed new ventilation systems while others have rearranged learning spaces to make them more COVID safe.

Now, the attention is going into how to help K-12 children recoup some of the learning they’ve missed during the pandemic.

Senate Education Committee chair Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) says federal dollars have been given to schools to help them with programming for remedial learning for kids who lost ground during remote and interrupted learning.

And he says lawmakers are coming up with a plan to get college students studying for education jobs to help tutor kids.

“So, we can pay these students to come in maybe an hour a day for five days a week or however often we can get them in there to sit down with small groups of students to help tutor them to get them caught back up," Brenner said.

 Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware)
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware)

Brenner says chronic absenteeism has been a problem in some districts, adding 74% of students in an urban Ohio district missed 18 days or more of unexcused absences during the pandemic.

The Ohio Department of Education says students scored about eight points lower in state language arts tests this past year and 15 points lower in math.

Brenner says the Youngstown City Schools scored 2.9% in fifth-grade math assessments but that district didn't have the worst score. He says East Cleveland schools scored a 1.9% in math on that fifth-grade test.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.