If the measures are approved, the State Treasury Department hires a company to administer the program, managing the “market” of education providers. Once students receive permission to receive a grant, they can choose a service and must use the grant for 12 months.
Alexandra, a former teacher, said she would like to use federal money to help with COVID-19 to pay for the program, and said her bill allows “transfer money to parents to make those decisions for their children.” She testified at both meetings of the Education Committee on Tuesday.
She said the bill is a way to help parents, and also helps teachers by giving students access to more adults to help them learn.
Republican lawmakers have recently focused on increasing parental involvement and control in schools. Lawmakers discussed the school transparency bill it will require counties to publish the curriculum and other information by the first day of school, and last week the Michigan Senate approved Optional resolution reaffirming the “fundamental right of parents to govern” their children’s education.
“To be very clear, this is not about blaming teachers,” Alexander said on Tuesday about the grant bill. “It’s not about blaming the school administration or the parents; this law is aimed at finding solutions. ”
If the program is approved, students who have attended a public school, charter school, or private school in Michigan for at least two semesters from March 9, 2020 to June 1, 2022, will be eligible for the grant. There would be at least three rounds of funding.
The student must provide information about family income. The bills aim to ensure that at least 40 percent of the money distributed in each round of funding is awarded to students in families living below or below the federal poverty line.
The program will also require a “learning delay assessment” that will take into account the student’s family poverty and the number of days the applicant’s school did not offer personal tuition.
The initial bills, which education stakeholders awaited discussion on Tuesday, provided for $ 500 million in the program. The replacement bills discussed on Tuesday did not include the amount of appropriations, and Alexandra acknowledged that her bill would at some point most likely have to be submitted to the appropriations committee.
Peter Spadaphor, executive director of the Middle Cities Education Association, a consortium of urban school districts, told Bridge Michigan that he did not believe the proposal “is yet to come in terms of a bill that will solve the problem.”
“We are open to many conversations and discussions about how we can deploy resources to help students with the greatest educational needs. But the initial bill was half a billion dollars with very little oversight to make sure it was spent properly or on quality programming. ”
The Fiscal Agency of the House of Representatives has analyzed the replacement of housing bills and found that any funding for the program would depend on legislative appropriations and that the bill did not provide a specific source of revenue for the program.
Both Alexander and Bison, a sponsor of the Senate bill, stressed that the grant money could not be used to pay for tuition in private schools, a controversial issue that Michigan voters have rejected in the past.