By State Rep. Doug Wozniak
On April 2, Michigan schools were ordered by our governor to remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year to protect our citizens from further spread of COVID-19. It’s a concern for many people as Michigan is ranked 37th in the country for education and must improve that performance.
While many states will fall behind as a result of virus-related closures, we must do the opposite. We must find ways to adapt our education system with innovative ideas and unique methods during this difficult time. This is a rare moment in history, and it brings about obvious challenges, but it also presents a unique opportunity to do more for our children.
Over the past month, many of our dedicated teachers across the state have already created online learning opportunities and begun emailing or mailing weekly plans to parents and students. Most districts and teachers have stepped up to fill the distance learning gaps, and I’m impressed by their level of commitment.
The governor’s executive order directed all school districts to create plans on their own or in partnership with another district for how the district will move forward. Each plan will be submitted to the regional intermediate school district for approval.
This is an opportunity for our students like we have never had before. Imagine how innovative these new plans could be. These plans could be the basis to improve our distance learning and our traditional schooling with benefits that could last well beyond this academic year.
Our statewide stay-at-home order has afforded students increased family time, which is invaluable to their upbringing. Parents have done an incredible job transitioning to the role of homeschool teachers, a task they were unprepared for and likely never thought they would have to do. It’s a testament to the resilience of the people of our state. I know Michigan students are in good hands as parents continue their dedication to educating their children during this unprecedented time.
I challenge Michigan teachers and parents not to be discouraged by school closures and not to miss out on this unique opportunity. Let’s work together to make the best of this situation and improve our system of learning.