Shusterman backs legislation ensuring success of special education students

HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman’s measure that would allow parents of special education students to decide if they want their child to repeat a grade after a year of virtual learning passed the House in the form of S.B. 664.

Shusterman’s bill (H.B. 909) was incorporated into S.B. 664. If enacted, S.B. 664 would give all students in the commonwealth the choice to repeat a grade level during the 2021-22 school year due to potentially lost educational opportunities in the last year due to COVID-19.

“Virtual learning was a viable option for many students last year in the midst of a global pandemic. However, students enrolled in special education have unique needs that were not always met through computerized classrooms,” Shusterman said. “If parents feel that their child needs to repeat a grade level, particularly parents of special education students, that option should be available to them. Online schooling was the only option for almost an entire school year and that’s not suitable for everyone, so I want to make sure that students are getting the most out of their education here in Pennsylvania.”

Shusterman’s H.B. 909 and S.B. 664 would also allow students with an individualized education plan who have turned 21 (aged out) since the disaster emergency proclamation on March 6, 2020, to continue their enrollment in school for remainder of 2021-2 academic year.

“For some students with IEPs or disabilities, last year’s changes caused a regression in important learning and soft skills. I am happy to report to parents and stakeholders who worked with me to create H.B. 909 that our work has passed through the legislature in the form of S.B. 664. This bill would accomplish our goals and allow these students to regain the important progress that was lost during the pandemic,” Shusterman said.

Senate Bill 664 passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee.

For more information, contact Shusterman’s office at 484-200-8260.