Gentles’s full testimony can be found HERE once the hearing begins.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) today announced Virginia (Ginny) Gentles, director of the Education Freedom Center at IWF, will testify before the U.S. House of Representatives House Oversight and Accountability Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic at 10:00 a.m. ET tomorrow, March 28, on the impact of school closures.

The hearing, entitled, “The Consequences of School Closures: Intended and Unintended,” will examine learning loss in schools due to policy decisions made in response to the coronavirus. Gentles will argue that these decisions, made by irresponsible school district leaders, were politically motivated and endangered children academically, emotionally and physically.

Gentles will testify alongside other witnesses:

  • Mr. David Zweig, Author and Investigative Journalist; The Atlantic, New York Magazine, The Free Press
  • Ms. Tracy Beth Høeg, M.D., Ph.D., Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist, Epidemiologist, Private Practice Physician

In her testimony, Gentles writes, in part, “Let’s be clear: school closures were not a good or necessary response to the coronavirus, and closure decisions were not grounded in data. School district superintendents, school board members, and state leaders knew early on that children were extremely low risk, but many feared the political consequences of prioritizing open schools.”

Specific areas of concern in Gentles’ testimony include:

  • The enormous political power the teachers’ unions in America have that parents do not;
  • A response to the learning loss crisis created by prolonged closures;
  • Callous politics that denied students with disabilities essential services and accommodations;
  • Opportunities missed to develop age-appropriate social and behavioral skills; and
  • The unwise use of supplemental coronavirus relief funds by governors and schools.

During her testimony, Gentles will highlight the need for Congress to:

  • Investigate school districts that were closed for extended periods so that students with disabilities can receive compensatory services;
  • Question district, state, and federal leaders that caved to political pressure from teachers’ unions in order to avoid a similar scenario unfolding in the future; and
  • Require regular reporting by superintendents that directed federal funds for progress unrelated to the academic progress of their students.

“Preparing our education system to effectively address a future pandemic starts with holding our federal health agencies accountable for any and all errors made, especially inexplicable mistakes,” said Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH). “The decision to close schools, in response to COVID-19, proved harmful for students’ academic, mental, physical, and social success. We need to fully investigate whether government officials placed the best interests of our nation’s children first when making these decisions. I look forward to working with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to conduct a fair investigation and deliver the truth about school closures. American students and families deserve these answers.”


WHAT: U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic: “The Consequences of School Closures: Intended and Unintended” Hearing

WHEN: Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 10:00 AM

WHERE: 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

WHY: The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic is authorized to investigate the “the societal impact of the decision to close schools, how the decisions were made and whether there is evidence of widespread learning loss or other negative effects as a result of these decisions,” under H. Res. 5.

Media Inquiries: [email protected]
Gentles’s full testimony can also be found HERE once the hearing begins.
Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.
IWF’s Education Freedom Center (EFC) advances school choice and empowers parents by advocating for a more vibrant education marketplace. The EFC informs the public about the benefits of education freedom and highlights school choice as a solution to the power imbalance between parents and unresponsive school districts.