The Michigan House Republicans announced a "Return to Learn" plan on Tuesday, June 23.
"The biggest thing we need to look at is kids returning to school safely," said Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Township).
The plan would have school districts partner with local health departments to create safety standards. The goal is to bring students back to in-person instruction, especially for kindergarten through fifth grade.
"For most students, that's what's best for them. It provides stability and belonging," Hornberger said.
The plan allows flexibility. So the school year can begin when the district feels safe enough.
"For whatever this program is that districts decide to do, we need to make sure they're meeting the same bench marks the student would be if they were in the classroom," Hornberger said.
It would also supply $1.3 billion to support schools
The plan would provide K-12 schools $800 per pupil to implement robust distance learning plans and health and safety measures to return students safely to the classroom, the House Republicans said.
It would also provide a one-time $500 for frontline teachers.
"Educators have been flexible and innovative in the face of unprecedented change and deserve this compensation," the House Republicans said.
The plan would also provide $80 million to intermediate school districts to assist schools in coordinating and implementing distance learning plans and safe learning measures.
You can learn more about the plan here.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been working on a plan too. She is expected to announce that plan by July.
"We've got to get this right. The thought of putting 1.5 million kids back in school for in-person instruction warms my heart. A one-pager is nice, but I think a real plan is what the families and educators in Michigan deserve and that's what they're going to get by the end of this month," Whitmer said.
The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement in response to the plan:
Today, Republicans announced their Return to Learn plan for Michigan schools this fall. Unfortunately, the plan is more of the same, unoriginal GOP agenda. The plan has language ripped straight from the Great Lakes Education Project, an “advocacy group” founded and funded by Betsy Devos and her family. Even the name is stolen, from Governor Whitmer’s 'Return to Learn Advisory Council', established back in May.
“Michiganders know Betsy Devos is the worst Secretary of Education we’ve seen, and we know that her agenda is dangerous,” said Tim Carroll, MDP spokesperson. “We’re not going to let Betsy Devos dictate the rules in Michigan, especially during a crisis that GOP leaders don’t take seriously.”
While the MI GOP does Betsy Devos' bidding, the Governor’s Return to Learn Advisory Council has been working, without the influence of Betsy Devos, to ensure children return to school safely, equitably, and efficiently this fall.