TROY, Mich. (WXYZ) — Schools across Michigan say the COVID-19 Pandemic has led to more children falling behind academically. They have asked, where is funding to make sure they get help?
President-Elect Joe Biden proposed an aid package that could in part answer that question. The COVID relief stimulus package proposed includes $130 billion in federal aid for schools.
“We have seen more students fail than before the pandemic,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent.
Dr. Vitti says it is clear. COVID-19 forced an inconsistent learning environment that is hard on teachers and kids. Troy Superintendent Dr. Richard Machesky says it is clear that as a result, all schools have extra work to do.
“There is going to be a significant need to help catch students up,” said Dr. Machesky.
This isn’t just anecdotal. Schools are looking at the numbers of students failing classes or falling behind as students learn virtually at least at times.
“We have seen a 10% to 15% increase in chronic absenteeism and we have seen a 10% to 15% to 25% increase in students failing at least one class. I say that range because it really depends on the grade level and the subject area,” said Dr. Vitti.
The numbers vary from district to district, but they all raise concerns for many kids. Schools are preparing for a drastic increase in demand for summer school this coming summer over last summer.
“I think we are going to see a doubling of those numbers over the course of this coming summer,” said Dr. Machesky.
Summer school will cost money. These school leaders say they feel there is a need for President-Elect Joe Biden’s proposed $130 billion federal aid package for K-12 schools to in part help fund summer school and other Covid related expenses.
“I think his vision is different from President Trump’s in that it brings financial support to that process, rather than just saying kids should be in school,” said Dr. Vitti.
“It is really important to us to have access to resources,” said Dr. Machesky.
As we learn more details about the proposal, there no doubt will be much debate about what spending on it is needed or is not needed, and we will hear more opinions on the matter. At this time details are limited.
School leaders say their big message is people need to know that the numbers they are looking at show children have been impacted by COVID-19.
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