MacDonald bill would protect parents’ decisions regarding their children

LANSING, Mich. — Parents of children struggling with virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic would be able to make important educational decisions under legislation introduced on Thursday by Sen. Michael D. MacDonald.

“When considering the next school year, there are some families who will make the decision that their child needs to repeat a grade level due to the shutdown,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “Virtual learning doesn’t work for everyone. For a variety of reasons, many children have not been able to thrive during this unusual year. There should be no shame attached to any family making this decision. Parents know what is best for their kids, and my legislation would ensure they can make this tough call and have their child’s school respect their decision.”

For the 2021-22 school year, Senate Bill 268 would ensure a parent or legal guardian of a student enrolled in a public school or public school academy may request that the student repeat the same grade level he or she was enrolled in for the current 2020-21 school year.

Schools would be required to honor the written request if it is submitted by July 1. After July 1, a student could still be held back, but the school would not be required to comply with the request.

The bill is part of a larger Senate education package reflecting the changing needs of parents, students and schools as a result of the coronavirus.

“Macomb County teachers, schools, parents and students have been through much over the past year since the virus came to our state,” MacDonald said. “This comprehensive set of reforms addresses a wide variety of COVID-related education issues to help reflect the realities of learning during the pandemic and help ensure every child gets an education that prepares them for success.”

SB 268 and the rest of the legislative package have been referred to the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee for consideration.