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Gov. Whitmer proposes using revenue surplus to expand tutoring options for students

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to improve after-school tutoring programs for Michigan students.
Courtesy | State of Michigan
Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to improve after-school tutoring programs for Michigan students.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to use some of the state's surplus revenue to expand tutoring programs for Michigan students.

Whitmer's proposal calls for investing $280 million in after-school tutoring programs to help catch up students who fell behind academically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a Michigan State University report, elementary and middle school students in Michigan still improved their scores on math and readings tests from the fall of 2020 to the fall of 2021, but their improvement was slower compared with data from before the pandemic. There are also a significant number of students who showed no growth at all, according to the report.

The governor's "MI Kids Back on Track" program would offer the state's nearly 1.4 million students up to ten hours of additional help with a qualified tutor.

In an announcement on Monday in Flint, the governor said the funding for the program would come from the $3 billion the state has received in additional revenue in the last fiscal year.

"The MI Kids Back on Track program would double down on tackling unfinished learning by investing in what our kids need most," Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a press release. "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."

She says students can benefit greatly from one-on-one support.

"Whether you're a 3rd grader learning about the solar system, a 6th grader getting better at fractions, or a junior sharpening persuasive writing skills—tutoring makes a difference," she said.

Paul Gaudard, the superintendent of Kearsley Schools in Flint, was present during the announcement. He says his district has added several positions to support the students who have fallen behind, but they need more help.

"I am hopeful that we can continue to work collaboratively and creatively with all stakeholders to ensure our students' road to recovery is as quick as possible," he stated in the release.

The program needs to be approved by the Republican-led state Legislature to be implemented, though Whitmer is already asking for volunteers to sign up to tutor.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community. Michelle is also the voice of WKAR's weekend news programs.