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Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services Chairwoman Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) today delivered opening remarks at a hearing titled “America’s Report Card: Oversight of the K-12 Public Education.”  Subcommittee Chairwoman McClain discussed the need to support American students and teachers as test scores have fallen to the lowest in years as a result of prolonged, Democrat-led pandemic school closures.


Below are Rep. McClain’s remarks as prepared for delivery.

We are here today to talk about how K-12 public education is often failing America’s children.

Educating America’s children should be a priority.

During the pandemic, children’s education was put on the back burner.

Teachers were put on the back burner.

The Left chose to keep schools shuttered and put politics over students.

It has only gotten worse since.

Just as the Left has made work optional since the pandemic, showing up for school has seemingly become optional as well.

Chronic absenteeism – missing at least 10 percent of the school year – was 74 percent higher last school year than prior to the pandemic.

And it shows.

Nationwide, the average reading and math scores for 13-year-olds declined 4 points and 9 points, respectively, from before the pandemic to this past school year.

In 2022, the average scores for 9-year-olds also declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in math, compared to 2020.

In my home state of Michigan, our fourth graders went from being 32nd to 43rd in the nation in reading. Our eighth graders dropped from 28th to 31st in the nation in math.

Prolonged school closures were a major cause of this failure.

Our children are crying out for help.

Students can only benefit from teaching, extra tutoring, and extended class time if they are at school.

Instead of addressing student performance, schools are investing in non-academic programs to serve political agendas.

Federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funds – that were appropriated by Congress – are being used to support the teaching of radical ideologies instead of core curriculum.

Instead of investing these funds in evidence-based recovery for struggling students, many state and local governments are choosing to pursue politics.

Instead of investing in additional tutoring and class time states and local governments are dividing students by race, pushing antisemitic tropes, teaching students that American institutions perpetuate white supremacy, and promoting sexually explicit gender ideology.

For the sake of “equity” schools are reducing advanced math courses and gifted programs.

Schools are inflating grades, dumbing down curriculum, and eliminating disciplinary actions.

This doesn’t help students, it only harms them.

Equity lowers the bar for the sake of equivalence rather than raising the bar for the sake of excellence. Students will suffer because of it.

This is not the first time I have sat in this chair asking government employees to do their job.

It is state and local governments’ job to select curriculum that teach kids how to read and do math.

It is a school administrators’ job to make sure kids want to attend school.

It is parents’ job to make sure their kids are attending school.

And it is a teacher’s job to teach kids fundamental skills that will help them grow into successful adults.

Teaching is often a thankless job. And we are so grateful for our hardworking teachers.

We need to do everything we can to support our teachers, to enable them to educate our next generation.

The best way to support them is to provide them with the resources they need to teach the fundamentals and not saddle them with political agendas.

The success of our nation’s children shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

I hope that we can find ways to come together and agree to do everything possible to ensure that our children’s education is a priority.

To our panel, thank you for being here before the Subcommittee today. I am looking forward to having this very important discussion with you all.

Author: Press Release


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