Statewide Survey Finds Michigan Parents Strongly Support Public Schools’ Efforts During COVID-19, Believe Funding Increases Should be Permanent

LANSING — Nearly 80% of Michigan public school parents approve of the quality of their child’s education as the new school year gets underway, according to a statewide survey released today by the K-12 Alliance of Michigan.

Conducted by the Glengariff Group, Inc. from August 23–26, 2021, the survey, which sampled 600 parents across the state with children in public schools, also found that:

  • 69% of parents approve of the way their school supported their child during the COVID-19 pandemic last school year.
  • Parents are split nearly 50/50 on whether they believe their child fell behind academically last year, but of those parents who do, 60% believe their school has the resources and support needed to put their child back on track
  • More than 75% of parents surveyed are largely comfortable sending their child back to the classroom this fall, with strong majorities believing new COVID-19 related health protocols are necessary and that schools should return to remote learning if there are large spikes in COVID cases in the state.

“School districts have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to protect the health and well-being of students while also working to ensure they have the best quality education experience, both inside the classroom and via virtual settings,” said Ken Gutman, president of the K-12 Alliance of Michigan and superintendent of Walled Lake Consolidated Schools. “We know the large role the community has in the success of our students, and we look forward to continuing to work together to support the academic, social and emotional health of Michigan’s children. “

School districts are starting the school year with a significant, but temporary, budget increase this year thanks to a mix of a strong School Aid Budget passed by the legislature this summer and federal stimulus dollars sent to our schools by both the Biden and Trump administrations. Seventy-eight percent of parents surveyed, however, believe those temporary funding increases should be made permanent and, when asked how those dollars should be spent, nearly 25% of parents chose more individualized tutoring for students, while just over 20% selected more options for skilled trades training and 18.5% would like to see more nurses and counselors to improve students’ mental and physical health.

“As educators, we are immensely grateful for the funding support we received from Lansing and Washington this year. Schools need every penny of that funding to keep their doors open and children in the classroom where they perform best,” said Erik Edoff, vice president of the K-12 Alliance of Michigan and superintendent of L’Anse Creuse Public Schools. “It’s going to take a great effort for our schools to remediate the challenges brought on by the pandemic and the critically important programs we are implementing this year can only remain in place if Michigan takes the steps to rethink our funding formula and continue to invest in our students’ needs once again. It’s gratifying to know our parents believe in the importance of that as well.”

To assist schools across the state in meeting the expected short- and long-term challenges presented by the pandemic, the K-12 Alliance of Michigan pointed to the model outlined by the School Finance Research Collaborative, which relies on the experiences and expertise of educators in the state to identify the resources and supported needed for student success.

The full results of the poll can be found here. To learn more about the K-12 Alliance of Michigan, please visit www.k12michigan.org.

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The K-12 Alliance of Michigan is a coalition of education leaders committed to fighting for strong K-12 schools across Michigan. Comprised of Superintendents from every district in Genesee, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties, they are collectively responsible for educating over 580,000 students.

The K-12 Alliance is the leading advocate for policies that support a stronger public education system in Michigan