Giving Compass' Take:
- Advocacy groups recommend one-on-one tutoring and personalized instruction for students in Michigan experiencing severe learning loss after the pandemic.
- What role can donors play in supporting education policy in the wake of COVID-19?
- Read more about approaching learning loss after the pandemic.
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If Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gets her way, Michigan children could start getting one-on-one tutoring in reading before spring break.
Tutoring is her top education priority as she prepares to deliver her fifth State of the State address Wednesday night in Lansing.
“Unfortunately, the last few years have disrupted learning patterns, and in-class instruction alone is not enough,” Whitmer said in a written statement to Chalkbeat and Bridge Michigan.
She is asking lawmakers to quickly fund her Get MI Kids Back on Track plan, a program she first asked for eight months ago to address learning challenges through tutoring and after-school programs and help the state’s long-term economic growth by better preparing students for the workforce, according to her office.
Whitmer’s initial $280 million proposal came three weeks after a report by Chalkbeat Detroit, Bridge Michigan, and the Detroit Free Press found that a lack of state leadership on tutoring resulted in an uneven patchwork of programs.
Michigan has no statewide tutoring strategy, but individual districts including Detroit Public Schools Community District — the state’s largest — have their own programs. Many other states already had comprehensive statewide strategies to recruit teachers and dedicate funds to expand tutoring programs.
Enactment of MI Kids Back on Track is far more likely now that Democrats control the Legislature.
State Rep. Matt Koleszar, chairperson of the House Education Committee, declined to discuss the tutoring program ahead of the governor’s address, but indicated he is on board with her priorities.
“I’m excited to work hand-in-hand with the governor and to continue on our path of record funding for our schools, and provide for our students with proven and innovative methods,” a Democrat from Plymouth, said in a text message Sunday.
State Rep. Jaime Greene, Republican vice chairperson of the House Education Committee, said she supports efforts to compensate for learning loss during the pandemic but hopes there also is room for school choice in Whitmer’s K-12 agenda.
Pandemic-related school closures “have greatly affected students, and as a state we need to improve opportunities in many different areas to help students get back on track,” Greene of Richmond said in an email message Sunday.
Education advocates have been calling for a concerted effort to bring individualized instruction to students who need it most. In a report this month, the advocacy group Education Trust-Midwest said intensive tutoring is key to post-pandemic academic recovery and called on lawmakers to invest in it.
Read the full article about tutoring to recover learning loss by Tracie Mauriello at Chalkbeat .