News Story

Most Michigan Schoolchildren To Have One Interaction With A Teacher Most Months

No in-person meetings required; four emails would qualify in two other months

Most Michigan children enrolled in public schools this fall will receive online lessons only, with just a single two-way interaction in most months with one of their teachers.

The communications methods specified for this interaction include email, telephone, instant messaging (text), or a face-to-face conversation.

With a few exceptions, Michigan public schools will not open for physical classes this fall, and perhaps not in 2021 either. Bills prescribing the alternatives passed the Michigan legislature during the past week, and were signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Aug. 20.

For most students instruction will be remote only — no in-school or in-person interactions.

To qualify for per-pupil state funding schools would have to certify that 75% of the children they enroll have just one two-way interaction per month with one of their teachers, except in October and February. In a normal year students are counted on a certain day during those months to determine state per-pupil funding. During the epidemic, in those two months districts will have to arrange four two-way interactions between a child and a teacher.

The new law defines “2-way interaction” as “a communication that occurs between a pupil and the pupil's teacher or at least 1 of the pupil's teachers, where 1 party initiates communication and a response from the other party follows that communication, and that is relevant to course progress or course content for at least 1 of the courses in which the pupil is enrolled. Responses…must be to the communication initiated by the teacher, and not some other action taken.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.