Regarding DeVos-Funded Group’s Criticism of Michigan Educators

Lansing, MI, May 20, 2020 – Chris Wigent, executive director of the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators, today released the following statement regarding testimony shared in the Senate Education & Career Readiness Committee regarding continuity of learning plans and returning to school in the Fall.

“We were shocked to hear the testimony shared today in the Senate Education Committee by the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) Education Fund.

To pit school districts against each other and against private and charter schools is unfair and ignores the fact that every district and building has unique resources and needs.

There is more to Continuity of Learning plans than sending home a packet. It’s not just ‘busy work’. Every piece of schoolwork offers a learning opportunity for students and was carefully selected by educators. In addition to packets, Michigan educators are checking in with students and families, providing tech support, feeding the community, and so much more outside of their usual scope of in-classroom instruction, which includes housing residents reeling from unprecedented flooding in Midland County.

GLEP says our students need new learning to happen, and it is. In testimony shared by public school educators, teachers continue to provide new instruction as well as mastery of content during school building closures, including adapting to the challenges we all now face. Educators are educators – they want their students to learn regardless of where they are delivering instruction.

To assert that hardworking Michigan teachers and administrators in Michigan’s public schools are in some way failing our children is a complete fallacy designed to foment controversy and further the DeVos-funded agenda to privatize education.

GLEP shared that schools are focused more on relationship-building with students than new learning. The truth is, relationship-building has always been an important part of curriculum in our schools with the focus on social-emotional learning and the whole child. Educators, all the way up to the superintendent, know how important it is for students to feel safe and supported, whether they are in the classroom or learning at home. When students return to school, they likely will need more social-emotional support, and those relationships fostered during their time at home will be more important than ever.

The statement made by GLEP that our members do not recognize the learning that has been lost during this pandemic, or are in some way making excuses rather than providing solutions, is an attack on public education, it’s offensive, and it devalues the hard work happening every day in every district across our state.”