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Messmer: Catching Up Hoosier Students 4.1.2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a tremendous challenge for Hoosier students, causing many to fall behind in their studies.

According to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, more than 1 billion children are at risk of falling behind due to school closures during the pandemic. In addition, data compiled by the Northwest Evaluation Association shows that among 4.4 million third through eighth grade students, math grades dropped by 5 to 10 points from where they were this time last year.

To help combat this learning loss, I am sponsoring House Bill 1008, which would help establish the Student Learning Recovery Grant Program.

This grant would be designed to close learning gaps, connecting young Hoosiers with tools and resources they need to catch up in their studies. Program criteria for the grants would be determined by the Indiana Department of Education (DOE), along with the State Board of Education. The DOE would be responsible for overseeing the grant program.

In order to qualify for a grant, organizations would need to submit a detailed plan that would supplement a student's regular schoolwork.

In many ways, COVID-19 has impacted children just as deeply as it has impacted adults around them. They have witnessed the loss of loved ones, their parents being without work and separation from family and friends. It's incredibly important that we never forget the youngest Hoosiers as we continue to recover from the pandemic.

I commend our teachers who have done their very best to educate Hoosier students virtually. Many have gone above and beyond, coming up with innovative ways to encourage their students. Unfortunately though, for many students, the support they received in the classroom is invaluable, and without that atmosphere, they do not absorbed the information they need to excel in their studies. The Student Learning Recovery Grant Program will give these students a way to get back on track.

To learn more about HB 1008, visit