LANSING – Lawmakers from the Michigan House of Representatives put the finishing touches on series of bills designed to provide clarity and address the concerns of Michigan educators prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year.
The Michigan Senate had approved the plan last week. Legislative leaders from both parties and Whitmer worked together on the bipartisan package that awaits the governor’s signature.
Not only did the package receive overwhelming support in both chambers, the Michigan Education Association, and Michigan Federation of Teachers, the states largest teachers unions, also supported the bill. The only descent came from some of the larger downstate school districts who are worried about the financial ramifications of the safety measures needed to open the schools this year.
Key components of the Bills can be found at legislature.mi.gov and include:
- No requirement for face-to-face instruction. Coordination with local health officials is required for plans that include in-person classes.
- Funding will be weighted towards last year’s attendance figures. 75 percent of funds will be based on last years student count, 25 percent will come from this years count.
- Attendance includes students physically in the buildings and those attending virtually.
- The requirement of 180 days or 1098 hours of instruction will be waived this year.
- Teachers will be required to have at least two, two-way interactions with students a week.
- Two student assessments will be required this year. One within nine weeks of the start of classes and another at the end of the year.
- School boards will have to publically evaluate the district plan every month.
- Districts must develop “educational goals” for students by September 15 and publish “extended COVID-19 learning plans” by October 1.
- Additional funding will be provided to help districts provide online learning and adequate student assessments.
The governor is expected to sign the bills before school starts on September 8.