The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unique challenges for students across the country, especially students with disabilities. To support schools across the country with getting students back into classrooms and making up for lost instructional time, Congress passed a relief package that included more than $125 billion in federal aid to districts and schools. States and districts have significant flexibility in how to spend the funds that they receive.
State and local education agencies are now tasked with developing plans and making significant decisions about how to invest these federal funds. This is a critical moment for states and districts, as they have the opportunity to invest in key areas that will truly respond to the needs of students and families. They must be committed to creating lasting change that is accessible, inclusive, and equitable for all students.
NCLD has created a new resource to help states and districts meet this moment. Investing in Lasting Change: How States and Districts Can Use Recovery Funds to Support Students With Disabilities details four key areas for states and districts to prioritize:
- High-quality, accessible, and inclusive academic instruction
- Inclusive and culturally responsive social-emotional learning
- Effective progress monitoring and accurate evaluations for specialized instruction
- Meaningful family support and engagement
This report provides recommendations for immediate steps states and districts can take to support all learners as well as additional resources and experts they can consult as they develop a long-term plan to transform learning for all.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the many challenges facing students with disabilities and other marginalized students, there is a unique opportunity to create lasting change by investing in priorities that both include and support students with disabilities. Ensuring that all programs are equitable and inclusive is the first step to enabling all students to reach their full potential.
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