State Rep. Pamela Hornberger, chair of the House Education Committee, joined the Legislature in approving a bipartisan agreement to get K-12 students safely back to school this fall.
The plan, originally introduced by Hornberger in June, will allow school districts to determine the best course of action for their students, be it online, in person, or hybrid instruction, based on consultations with local health departments.
“I trust local health department experts across our state who know what’s best for the kids in their communities,” Hornberger said. “I approached this plan not only as a former teacher, but also as a mother. This plan keeps kids safe without jeopardizing their education by utilizing innovative methods of instruction.”
Hornberger also said providing parents with the opportunity to voice their concerns is crucial to keep the school district and community informed of needed adaptations and hold locally elected officials accountable. Under the plan, school boards will be required to reexamine and recertify how they are delivering instruction to students at their monthly board meetings for the duration of the 2020-21 school year.
Additionally, local benchmark assessments will provide detailed information to parents and teachers about where a student needs additional help to ensure they stay on track.
Hornberger also acknowledged that younger students tend to learn better in classroom settings. Under the plan, if districts determine that it is safe to offer in-person learning, they are encouraged, but not required, to prioritize in-person instruction to K-5 students.
As the coming school year will also pose significant additional costs to school districts as they work to impose new safety standards and innovative teaching methods, the Legislature previously dedicated a total of $583 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to Michigan schools, including:
- $350 per student across the board, ensuring schools have the resources they need to educate children.
- More than $50 million in hazard pay for educators who have been flexible and innovative in the face of unprecedented change.
- $18 million for safety measures and local benchmark assessments to ensure kids stay on track with learning.
The House plan now advances to the governor’s desk for consideration.
Rep. Hornberger talks about her House Bill 4001, that requires state legislators to abstain from voting on bills that could personally benefit them or their families. The bill is part of a larger plan to strengthen and improve Michigan’s legislative ethics.