State Rep. Pamela Hornberger, chair of the House Education Committee, today announced the governor has signed the Legislature’s 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.
“Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together and got this instrumental plan done in time for our kids to head back to school – it’s a good thing,” Hornberger said. “As a former teacher and a parent, I have always advocated for doing what’s best for students above all else in our education planning and that’s what this plan does.”
Hornberger 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.
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.