Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer proposes using additional state revenue to fund K-12 tutoring

By: - May 24, 2022 1:50 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, May 23, 2022 | Whitmer office photo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer introduced a plan Monday to expand tutoring and other learning supports to respond to learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools initially were closed to in-person learning to stop the spread. During the pandemic, students have struggled with illness, grief, mental health issues and more.

The MI Kids Back on Track program would invest $280 million of the state’s $3 billion in additional revenue to help schools process background checks for potential tutors and pay them. The GOP-led Legislature would need to approve the funding.

“For lots of kids, this means extra personalized instruction, like tutoring, which is a critical tool for parents to help their kids get caught up and on the right track after a tough few years,” Whitmer said in a statement Monday. “If we get this done, we can offer every student in Michigan — all 1.4 million of them — extra help with a qualified tutor. But tutoring programs only work if we have tutors.”

The American Rescue Plan, signed by President Joe Biden last year, included funding to address unfinished learning, but Whitmer’s program would build on this funding with state resources.

Whitmer is asking Michiganders to sign up to volunteer as a tutor in a local school district to help meet this need.

“There are times when students need more instruction than the typical school day. After-school tutoring and enrichment programs are a great way to meet that need,” said Rachel Huiskens, a fifth grade teacher at Fiedler Elementary who has run several after-school programs. “Tutoring was a chance for me to build a special relationship with kids who need extra support and personalized instruction. The impact I saw on children from those programs included social, emotional, cognitive, and academic growth.”

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.