Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed off in July on a record public education budget that included $150 million for individualized tutoring and academic support to help the state’s struggling students recover from pandemic learning loss.
But a state education official told Bridge Michigan it could take until the spring semester for formalized tutoring programs to be ready for students across the state.
That means school districts must continue to rely for much of the new school year on a patchwork approach to finding teachers or other instructors to help students who are behind in core areas like reading or math.
“Michigan, by having their policy come out now, is certainly behind several states but ahead of probably at least half of the states, I’m sure,” said Kathy Bendheim, managing director at the National Student Support Accelerator (NSSA), a group out of Stanford University that shares tutoring research and helps create evidence-based programs.
She said Michigan’s program incorporates “high-quality standards” in its policy but must ensure tutoring programs are actually implemented as designed.
“The urgency of the situation makes you want to do it for all kids immediately,” she said. “But what we have learned is that starting small — smaller — getting it right and building those real champions makes the expansion so much easier.”