Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has remained silent as school districts in her state have opted to return to virtual learning for students.
Approximately nine different school systems in Michigan have moved educational instruction to computer screens, affecting roughly 100,000 students thus far.
Many school officials have cited the spike in positive coronavirus cases as fuel for their decision.
However, they seemingly ignored multiple studies and experts that have demonstrated the harmful impact of remote learning on students.
“Students of color could be six to 12 months behind, compared with four to eight months for [W]hite students. While all students are suffering, those who came into the pandemic with the fewest academic opportunities are on track to exit with the greatest learning loss,” explained a McKinsey analysis.
Michigan’s standardized testing scores dramatically declined following Whitmer’s previous lockdowns.
Critics of the governor point to statements from other prominent Democratic leaders and public health officials in support of continuing in-person learning
“We want to be extremely clear. The safest place for our children is in a school building. And we are going to keep our schools open,” newly-elected New York City Eric Abrams said recently.
While Abrams and others have spoken out, Whitmer has opted against weighing in on the decision, leading some to connect the decision to her upcoming reelection campaign.
“The only scientific difference between New York City and Detroit is the New York mayor just won an election, while Gov. Whitmer is terrified of the teachers unions in an election year,” said Tori Sachs, the executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund. “Last year, Whitmer vetoed money for parents to send their kids to open schools and hire tutors. She should immediately open schools and support scholarships for additional learning or finally allow parents the funds to send their kids to open schools. The children of Michigan deserve an education that works for them, not Whitmer’s coloring contest distraction.”
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