GLEP: Gov. Whitmer Must Get Off the Sidelines, Defend Parents and Get Kids Back in School

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GLEP: Gov. Whitmer Must Get Off the Sidelines, Defend Parents and Get Kids Back in School 

LANSING – Great Lakes Education Project Executive Director Beth DeShone today urged Governor Gretchen Whitmer to denounce the Michigan Democratic Party’s elitist attack on parents, and to stand up to her campaign donors and public-school bureaucrats in Detroit and Flint where students remain indefinitely locked out of their classrooms.

Whitmer has patently and continuously refused to take action or use her influence to end school lockouts actively devastating children, exacerbating an exploding juvenile mental health crisis and leaving families without hope.

“The Michigan Democratic Party told parents they didn’t deserve a say in their kids’ education and Gretchen Whitmer refused to stand up for families,” said DeShone. “Students in Detroit and in Flint have been locked out of their classrooms by Gretchen Whitmer’s campaign donors and political allies and she hasn’t lifted a finger to help them.  Gretchen Whitmer’s partisan cowardice is crippling an entire generation of kids and every day she spends on the sidelines counting campaign cash is another day Michigan children fall farther into despair.” 

Bureaucrats and the Governor’s political allies in Detroit have locked its entire student population out of their classrooms for more than a month and have pledged not to return to the classroom for the foreseeable future.

Detroit Public Schools received over $800 million in COVID funding alone – over $16,000 extra per student – to make in-person learning possible.

Bureaucrats and the Governor’s political allies in Flint have also locked its public-school district’s students out of the classroom.  Public schools in Flint received nearly $50,000 per-pupil in extra COVID-19 stimulus funding to prevent lockouts.  Bureaucrats have taken the money and refused to deliver even the most fundamental results – open classrooms.

Data released by Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaboration shows students locked out of their classroom learn far less than their peers in public school districts following public health guidance to keep classrooms open.  Reporting by the Detroit Free Press shows that ongoing school closures are also largely impacting students of color, widening racial disparities in education.

According to Doctor Anthony Fauci, “It’s safe enough to get those kids back to school, balanced against the deleterious effects of keeping them out.”

Even President Joe Biden’s education secretary, Miguel Cardona, has gone on-record stating “even with Omicron, our default should be in-person learning for all students across the country.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has shamefully refused to oppose closures or to defend the roughly 100,000 students locked out of their classrooms against the advice and guidance of education and public health leaders.  Whitmer in 2020 locked classrooms across the entire state, leading to years of lost-learning and an escalating mental health crisis enveloping Michigan children.

The Great Lakes Education Project is a bi-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization supporting quality choices in public education for all Michigan students. GLEP strongly supports efforts to improve academic achievement, increase accountability and empower parental choice in our schools.