How can Michigan schools spend $6B in COVID money? Here’s what experts say
Congress has now injected over $6 billion into Michigan’s public schools through three COVID relief packages since the pandemic began in the spring of 2020. Individual districts and charter schools are facing a question that was unthinkable in recent years:
How do we spend the money?
- Michigan’s top doc urges schools to require facemasks in the fall
- Michigan legislation would de-emphasize SAT scores to boost college access
学校have until 2024to spend stimulus funds, which can be used for a广泛的需求。There’s no shortage of worthy projects, from delayed maintenance on school buildings, to programs to increase college enrollment, to efforts to address the academic and emotional needs of children emerging from the pandemic.
Using that money wisely is critical to Michigan schools, which are, at best, middle of the academic pack in the nation, and where students will be returning in the fall after a challenging pandemic school year.
Bridge Michigan asked a selection of Michigan education experts to weigh in on how schools can best use their federal funds. Their suggestions ranged from school building improvements to early literacy help, to hiring and retention bonuses to address the state’s teacher shortage.
琥珀色的阿勒腊诺, executive director, Education Trust-Midwest
Help the young and those about to graduate
联邦刺激渠道是对公共教育的历史性投资，对未完成的学习至关重要。然而，事实仍然存在，这些一次性美元将耗尽。由于密歇根领导人考虑如何度过最后一个资金 - 近3.7亿美元的酌情联邦资金 - 他们应该承诺改变我们的不公平的学校资金制度，这是国家缺乏高贫困之间的资金差距之一低贫困区。
这些美元代表一个特殊的机会for Michigan to make a down payment for educational equity through systemic investments in underserved students. By investing intentionally in improving early literacy through expanded summer learning, intensive tutoring and competitive literacy grants, we can set our youngest learners up for success, regardless of where they enter or existing gaps.
Michigan must consider the successes and examples of leading education states that have made transformative changes in the way they fund schools to ensure that all students to have opportunities to achieve at high levels, including Black and Brown students, English learners, students with disabilities and low-income students. Transforming our funding system into one that supports students according to their diverse needs and guarantees that new dollars go first to those who are the most underserved is critical as state leaders prioritize the spending of this federal stimulus funding.
Elizabeth Moje, dean, School of Education, University of Michigan
New technology and teacher training
- Purchase technology tools for classrooms and training for teachers
A popular topic of conversation of late has been how technology tools can be leveraged to intervene on so-called “learning loss.” And it’s true that teachers and schools are perfectly positioned after the past year to creatively and meaningfully integrate technology tools into their instructional practice.
Moreover, resources should be dedicated to high-quality instructional technology training for both teachers and school leaders so that these powerful technology tools will not sit on shelves.
- Better support for students’ social, emotional and physical development.
The need for improved socioemotional learning and development in schools was evident prior to the pandemic. Schools are welcoming back into their environments whole humans who have lived through life-altering events. This year has also highlighted the need to be more attentive to the health determinants of learning, which include health care, dental care, safe and supportive environments, food access, and social-emotional health and well-being. Each of these dimensions of health has a significant effect on the extent to which children can take up opportunities to learn.
And in some cases, these health determinants may affect the ways teachers and leaders offer opportunities to learn, particularly if they assume that the hungry or tired or stressed child is unmotivated or unable to self-regulate in ways that comport well with classroom organization.
These health determinants, as we have been reminded throughout our twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice, are unevenly distributed across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines, thus shaping the learning opportunities of Black children, Indigenous children, children of color and children who live in economically challenged conditions.
我们需要提供个人社会间谍支持，同时继续制定纳入社会间谍学习（SEL）和恢复实践的实践和政策，从而促进所有人的关怀和犹豫不决的环境。学生要求在这些领域应得的专家支持 - 特别是来自识字专家，数学专家，SEL专家，护士和社会工作者。此外，教师需要这些专家直接与孩子一起工作，以便教师继续教授。
The last thing we need is for teachers to hold back from teaching children concepts and skills because they are spending their time trying to wrestle with the very real challenges that children are facing. In short, we need teams of classroom teachers and support specialists who can work together with children and their families to provide the very best — and most equitable — opportunities to learn.
- 专业的发展t for teachers.
教育工作者 - 在大流行期间也改变了谁的生命 - 必须配备技能，了解许多学生和家庭经历的创伤，困难和孤立以及它如何影响学生的学习。我们是否应该以其他专家的形式提供教师支持服务，这些专家能够与教师和学习者并肩工作，但教师本身需要教练学习如何磨练他们参加儿童经历的真正创伤的技能并将继续去体验。
This one-time infusion of funds begs the question, how can we sustain our successes? What is the best way to advance just and equitable education for all children, youth and adults? The most important thing we can do is ensure our educators continue to be educated at a high level—higher than ever before.
Teaching is a profession that requires expertise, nuanced professional judgment and learned skills. To thrive and survive requires a foundation of high-quality training, guided practice and continued support into the early career and beyond. Our educators need—and deserve—all we can equip them with to successfully navigate the myriad needs of our children and youth coming out of a pandemic and a time of great upheaval.
招聘 - 和支付 - 教师
Much has been written about the shortage of teachers and other professionals to serve students in Michigan schools. This was a crisis already before the pandemic made it worse, driven by a mix of retiring educators, early departures from the profession and declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs.
Local districts can use these funds to raise salaries to improve recruitment and retention of educators to meet student needs.Michigan ranks 41st nationally in starting teacher salary是吸引人们对学生成功至关重要的职业的重要公制。
资金也可以向教育工作者偿还学生债务，赔偿学生教师的实习，他们必须完成，以获得他们的学位和增加职位，并为满足关键学生需求的非教师支付 - 从学校护士和辅导员到公交车司机和副手。
这些决定 - 需要在学校员工和社区成员的意见本地 - 将确保学生能够获得致力于他们成功，学术和生活中的教育工作者，超越我们学校的四墙。
Like the educator shortage, problems stemming from Michigan’s aging school buildings were present long before COVID-19. The pandemic put a finer point on many of these issues: windows that won’t open, poor ventilation, inadequate heating and air conditioning, and more. School air quality is a frequent concern of educators and parents alike – and a critical focus for school safety during the pandemic.
Federal funds can be used to fix these issues and add equipment that will keep people healthy and safe long after the pandemic. Better air quality, improved ventilation and HVAC systems, and greater investment in cleaning and sanitization will not only help stop COVID, but will also prevent outbreaks of colds, flus and other illnesses that frequently roll through school buildings.
Such improvements can often be done by local contractors and tradespeople, helping improve our local economies while helping students and staff be safer and healthier in our schools.
Long term, this infusion of cash won’t permanently solve these issues. However, in the short run, this funding can go a long way to helping students succeed and showing our communities what’s possible when we properly fund our schools.
Ben DeGrow, director of education policy, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Keep optional virtual learning
Improving services will require more flexibility. At minimum, districts should include options for both in-person and virtual learning. Rather than adopt an all-or-nothing approach, local leaders should deploy teachers who excel at online education and recruit students to take virtual courses. For their part, state lawmakers could let dollars follow students at the course level, as outlined in the Mackinac Center’s灵活学习proposal.
家庭想要新鲜，以学生为中心的方法from their public schools. A recentnational survey2700名家长发现,40%是非常关心的ed about setbacks in student learning. Nearly 60 percent favored using federal funds to make “bold changes,” an opinion that cut across all demographic groups. High on the list of changes: offering students more ways to earn college credit or complete apprenticeships and other work-based learning opportunities. Expanding student access to high-quality tutoring and mental health services to meet individual needs gained strong support, too.
Whatever decisions Michigan school boards make, they should heed an important lesson from the pandemic: Business as usual isn’t good enough.
More Pre-K, and decrease elementary class size
In an ideal world, Michigan would continue that funding. But if not, I would then take the years before the windfall ran out institutionalizing both of those in my district by reducing or eliminating less proven, time-worn strategies.
Craig Thiel, research director, Citizens Research Council of Michigan
Although plentiful, schools should proceed with caution in their use of federal funds.
To begin, schools must recognize that these are one-time funds and budget accordingly. Given the fact that the federal money is being layered on top of a growing state revenue base, districts are advised against programming the money as replacement revenue in their on-going operational budgets. There is no need to back-fill education cuts because dedicated school operating revenues remain strong, and Lansing kept K-12 schools financially whole throughout the pandemic.
相反，学校官员应该寻求解决他们的一次性短期需求，特别关注大流行产生的直接影响。To this end, Congress directed that 20 percent of the money ($670 million statewide) must be used to address learning loss through the implementation of “evidence-based interventions” and ensure that those interventions respond to students’ social, emotional and academic needs and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented student subgroups.
What these learning loss efforts will entail, how they will look, and how they will be implemented is going to be unique to individual students and schools. In some cases, this might look like extended classroom time/school year, tutoring, and/or new delivery models. Congress required districts to gather local input and finalize spending plans by the end of August.
以自由裁量金留下27亿美元（全国权）。一个值得严重关注的一个领域是设施改进和维修。联邦基金的规模将使一些地区对其老化基础设施进行可衡量的改善，a long-standing financing challenge faced by many poorer districts, The Detroit Public Schools Community District has an estimated $530 million need across nearly 100 buildings. It is doing the right thing by spending some of its $800-plus million federal awardon building improvements。
Gifted and talented programs
Michigan governors, legislators, superintendents and teachers once knew the difference between a high-quality gifted education and regular education, but that is no longer true. After Michigan permanently cut gifted and talented funding, most colleges, universities, and school districts stopped training administrators and teachers in gifted education.
As a result, gifted and talented education curriculum, instructional strategies, and assessments, teaching practices most closely aligned with Michigan’s standards, have been lost in our state.
How has that hurt all Michigan children? No one can know when children are achieving at their highest possible levels until they are given the educational opportunities that maximize their potential. Instead of viewing gifted education as elitist and cutting funding and access to it, why not give every child an opportunity to learn as a gifted student?
If Michigan uses some education funds to train all teachers and administrators in gifted education in every rural, urban and suburban school, every child would have the opportunity and means to maximize their potential. Think what that would mean for the academic prowess of every child and teacher in our state and for Michigan’s future!