Governor Gretchen Whitmer rolled out a “blueprint” Wednesday outlining post-COVID-19 return-to-school plans. The recommendations focus heavily on addressing racial and economic inequality, but would require buy-in from school districts and the Legislature to become a reality.
“Budgets are a reflection of values,” she told the group “Mothering Justice” shortly after releasing the plan. “How we invest state funds must be based on what the people need.”
She said the state has almost $4 billion dollars coming in federal COVID recovery funds to help schools.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in Michigan’s families,” she said. “My budget proposal uses the American Rescue Plan dollars to make long-term investments in our children and the next generation.”
The blueprint’s recommendations address a range of issues, including teacher retention and recruitment, universal pre-K early childhood programs, equitable school funding, and mental health support for college students.
The governor stressed the recommendations are not mandates and schools are free to accept or ignore them based on each district’s circumstances.
Whitmer and the Legislature’s Republican majorities are still bargaining over budget priorities.