Jeffrey Mosher recently spoke with Erik Edoff, Superintendent, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools. They discuss findings from a statewide survey of Michigan parents of school aged children. The parents are concerned over a safe return to school in the fall and the impact on their ability to go back to work.
To hear Erik and Jeffrey interview click the PodCast below!
For more details read below:
Statewide Survey: Michigan Parents Concerned over Safe Return to School in the Fall, Impact on Ability to Work
LANSING—More than half of Michigan parents say if schools are unable to reopen safely in the fall, it would have an impact on their ability to return to work, according to a statewide survey released today by the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education. School leaders from Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties joined with the Michigan League for Public Policy to release the results of the survey and reinforce the critical need for federal funding for K-12 schools.
“As the work to fully reopen the economy continues, we must recognize the role our schools play in our ability to do that successfully,” said Erik Edoff, Superintendent of L'Anse Creuse Public Schools. “School funding has already been stretched thin, yet, in order for my schools to be able to reopen successfully in the fall, extensive new health and safety guidelines will be required to give parents the assurance that it is safe to send their children back into our schools.”
The data collected by The Glengariff Group, Inc. and commissioned by the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education included parent sentiment regarding schools reopening in the fall and concerns over the ability to make ends meet if schools are unable to reopen. Forty-four percent of Michigan parents said if school were unable to open in the fall it would have an impact on their ability to pay their bills, and 56% said it would impact their ability to return to work.
“Many businesses and families are already under significant financial strain due to the COVID-19 crisis, and that is only going to worsen if parents aren't comfortable and confident in sending their kids to school and going back to work," said Gilda Z. Jacobs, President and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. "Elected officials—especially at the federal level—need to act swiftly to allocate additional funding to support Michigan parents during this unprecedented time, especially when it comes to greater investment in child care and schools that will help parents get back on the job and our economy get back on track.”
The survey results also indicated parents expect clear changes in school protocols to meet medical experts’ safety recommendations. Sixty-seven percent of parents believe it is very important to meet or exceed medical experts’ safety recommendations before classes open in the fall, and 71% of parents believed that schools will need additional resources to meet those recommendations, money Lansing has not committed to providing schools yet.
“We’re working together, both at the tri-county level as well as with Governor Whitmer, to identify safe reopening guidelines, and we know every one of those new guidelines will have a price tag attached to them,” said Mark Greathead, Superintendent of Woodhaven-Brownstown School District. “Whether it be reduced class sizes that require more space and more teachers, additional bussing routes to accommodate social distancing, sanitization supplies and procedures, or emotional support resources for students, these are all expenses that aren’t in existing school budgets. We need Lansing to act quickly to accommodate the significant added costs we can expect as a result.”
The group also highlighted the need for the state and federal government to mitigate budget shortfalls.
“We need to see immediate action at a state and federal level in order for schools to plan for a successful reopening in the fall,” Greathead added. “Before any legislator suggests that budget cuts for next year are unavoidable, it is their responsibility to join us in calling on the U.S. Senate to provide immediate relief packages for schools.”
The full results of the poll are available at this link.
The Tri-County Alliance for Public Education is a coalition of education leaders committed to fighting for strong K-12 schools across Michigan. Comprised of Superintendents from every district in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, they are collectively responsible for educating over 500,000 students.