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Senate Republicans introduce education recovery plan

Senate Republicans have introduced a comprehensive plan to begin helping the state’s K-12 education system recover from a year of academic losses brought on by COVID-19.

The plan provides tools and resources to help parents, teachers and administrators get students back on track and implements changes to improve the state’s educational system.

To help students recover academically, the plan would require school districts to offer individual academic assessment and recovery plans by May 15.

Schools would leverage existing benchmark assessment data and compare students’ current year academic performance against where they are expected to be. Individual plans would then be developed to help students get back to where they need to be — teachers would be asked to develop learning recovery plans for students in every subject for parental review no later than Aug. 14.

To help teachers and administrators, the plan would make significant changes to the evaluation process, recognizing the incredible challenge every Michigan educator has had to take on this academic year. Tracking student growth would be simplified for this year and it would not count as much toward a teacher’s or administrator’s overall performance rating.

Additionally, districts would have greater flexibility in hiring substitute teachers to help ensure more students receive in-person instruction in classrooms more often from now until the end of the summer.

The legislation also would provide parents the express authority to retain a child to retake this year’s grade next year. The plan would require certain benchmark data to be made public to help improve transparency and accountability and improve academic performance.

The 11-bill Senate Republican plan has been referred to the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee for consideration.