If the measures become law, parents could choose from “market” education providers to help their students engage in academic pursuits. The Michigan Treasury Department would hire a company to administer the “Loss Program to Cover Learning Losses.”
Students could use the money for tutoring, courses, software, curriculum, pre- and post-school programming, full-time training camps and other educational services. The funds could not be used for tuition or expenses in a private school.
Once students receive permission to receive a grant, they can choose a service and must use the money for a year.
“Every county in our state is unique; like every child we’ve taught, ”Alexander said Tuesday afternoon at Bridge Michigan.“ So given each community, each family, a unique set of opportunities is important. And ultimately, we hope that when we look at data from suppliers, we will see strong results “.
But Dina Paleganka, D-Livonia, told Bridge that she believes the program has “layers of red tape” and that the best way to manage the curriculum to improve learning would be to give money directly to local school districts.
“I think it’s the most direct way and the most effective way to get money from these students,” she said.
She said she also voted against the bill because it was unclear how much the program would cost and where the money came from.
If the program is approved, students who were enrolled in the school as of March 9, 2020, when the pandemic arrived in Michigan, and did not receive a degree by that date, will be eligible for the grant. A previous version of the bill had limited entitlement to students who have spent at least two semesters at a Michigan school since March 9, 2020.
The state will need to give higher priority to students who may demonstrate an “academic flaw”. Students can use report cards, test results, teacher recommendations or other subjects to demonstrate this. If established, the grant program will have at least three rounds of funding, each of which includes at least 40 percent of grantees living at or below the federal poverty line.
Michigan school districts have already submitted plans to use some of their federal money to help with COVID-19 for tutoring, and some are already running the program this school year, according to county spending plans submitted to the state and received by Chalkbeat Detroit. Bridge Michigan is working with Chalkbeat Detroit and the Detroit Free Press to report on how schools are spending historic investments in schools.
Senator Jim Runestad, R-White Lake Township district, told Bridge on Tuesday afternoon that he supports the bill because it allows students to get extra help for their scholars. He said he had heard from several teachers that some students had survived the pandemic storm well and that they were resilient.
“But there are a huge number (of students) who don’t. And there is a certain group that has really been negatively affected. We can’t let them fall to the sidelines. “
He said the bill allows students to “turn around.”
But Democrats have said they are wary.
“It’s just another attempt to set up a Betsy DeVos-style voucher,” said Bridge spokesman Matt Kolesar of D-Plymouth. “And I am categorically against any voucher bills coming in; they are not suitable for public education. “
Kaleshar said he considers the effort a voucher plan because it will send public money to private sellers.
The bills come in an election year when the two parties disagree on how schools should move beyond the pandemic and what options parents should have.
Former US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos support and partial funding of the Michigan ballot, which will fund donations a scholarship program to cover public and private education costs. A separate group цыя a coalition of teachers’ unions, public school councils and other educational advocacy organizations ー a campaign against DeVos ’recent efforts to change Michigan’s education system.
Earlier this month, Alexander said a bill on grants for loss of education was modeled on programs in other states. Her office has unveiled a list of five states that have something similar, including Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Ohioand Oklahoma. In at least two other states ClassWallet has been selected as the program provider.
The company is registered as a lobbyist in the village Michigan March 2, 2020. Alexandra said she “never talked” to ClassWallet or a lobby group hired to lobby the company.
She said she had heard the name of the company, but ultimately she wanted the Treasury to make an “informed decision about who is the best supplier to promote the program”.
Runestad said it was important for him that the provider selected to administer the program was “data-driven.”