Skubick: House passes “Return To Learn” bills for Gov. Whitmer to sign

Michigan

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Legislation is on its way to the governor that gives more direction to schools on how to operate in this COVID-19 environment.

But not everyone signed off on the “Return to Learn” blueprint.  

The proposal eliminates the 180-day requirement for all schools given the uncertainty of what impact the virus might have on whether schools stay open or closed.  

There will be two assessment tests during the academic year.

The state is not ordering the schools to mandate kids to come to the classroom, leaving the door open for virtual learning.

And earlier lawmakers approved an additional $583 million to the schools and $50 million in hazard pay for teachers.

But over 30 lawmakers voted no.

Some argued that legislators had no input into the plan.

“To all of us who are educators that didn’t have a chance to weigh in on behalf of our districts,” said former teacher Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo. “We need to go slow so we can go fast and make the necessary changes so that all of our districts have autonomy.”

But all of the proposed changes were defeated. 

Segments of the education community also complained about a backroom deal that left them out.

But the sponsor lectured those folks, saying she asked for input but got zippo.

“These some education groups and colleagues have complained in the press and social media that educators were left out of the processes,” said Rep. Pam Horberger. “That is ridiculous and patently false.”

Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield praised the package as helping three groups, school districts, parents and someone else.

The Speaker said, “and every child in our state deserves the opportunity to go to school safely and this plan does all three of those things.”

Governor Whitmer is expected to sign the package.  

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