GLEP Asks Governor Whitmer, Legislature to Take Extraordinary Steps to Ensure Students Receive Full Year of Learning Despite COVID Crisis

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GLEP Asks Governor Whitmer, Legislature to Take Extraordinary Steps to Ensure Students Receive Full Year of Learning Despite COVID Crisis

Student Learning, Achievement More Important than Arbitrary Calendars

LANSING – Great Lakes Education Project Executive Director Beth DeShone today asked Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the state legislature to take extraordinary measures to ensure Michigan students receive a full year of learning before being advanced to the next grade, despite weeks away from the traditional classroom because of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

“The purpose of Michigan’s public education system is to educate students and prepare them for the future, and that’s a goal that’s still in reach, even in the midst of a public health crisis,” said DeShone. “Ensuring our kids get a full year of learning to prepare them for the next grade amidst statewide school closures will require innovative, creative, and perhaps even extraordinary approaches, but Michigan’s kids are worth it.

“Michigan schools, teachers, and policymakers have the unprecedented opportunity to embrace change and innovate to meet the needs of students. With our students’ futures on the line, it’s an opportunity they must seize.  Sadly, policymakers are already under pressure from some in the education establishment to simply give up on a full school year and send students to the next grade – or to a discouraging job market – whether they’re ready or not.  We cannot give up on students, and the Governor and policymakers should reject the call to abandon the school year publicly and immediately.

“Instead of giving up on students, Lansing must take whatever measures necessary to ensure our children receive the education they deserve.  This is not a time to focus on seat time for calendars, but to focus on effective measures to produce academic success. We need accountability measures that ensure students achieve academic success this year, and every year.”

Opportunities to ensure students receive a full year of learning, despite ongoing school closures during the COVID-19 crisis include but are not limited to:

  • Investing in and broadly deploying online learning opportunities and digital classrooms for students;
  • Embracing mastery-based learning, empowering students to work ahead or take the added time to fully understand the content and demonstrate their progress, even during building closures;
  • Delaying not eliminating state testing;
  • Extending the school year;
  • Utilizing all school resources to deliver education outside of the school building like buses to be WiFi hotspots, and delivery vehicles for meals and educational materials.
  • Additionally, educational measures that were in place before the closures should remain on track, like A-F school report cards.