Additional Spotlights on Unfinished Learning

The unfinished learning for all Michigan kids is real and the conversation is growing and has even hit the press. Michigan Education Corps (MEC) not only agrees with the Detroit Free Press article about the state’s struggle to address learning loss and the need for high-quality tutoring–but we live it and see it every day.

Since 2012, MEC has served across the state of Michigan, from Alpena to Benton Harbor to Detroit, and the program continues to show up and support students with the greatest need to help build their confidence in reading and math. MEC members serve a pivotal role in addressing COVID learning loss by delivering proven, evidence-based practices.

MEC members play a pivotal role in addressing COVID learning loss. We engage students in Michigan with the highest need and our evidence-based approach gets results.

This year alone, MEC AmeriCorps interventionists have helped 2,458 students by delivering 1.7 million individualized minutes of tutoring with Early Learning Corps (preschool), Reading Corps (K-3), and MEC Math Corps (gr. 4-8). Of the 1,836 students getting individual reading intervention, 60% are testing above their target growth metric. We are part of the CLSD federal grant and of the 32 districts that we support, five of those districts are in partnership with MDE.

MEC is directly addressing the teacher shortage by placing these highly trained tutors with select students and delivering our services during school hours. Our schools are grateful to have MEC interventionists dedicated to only academic intervention for students, allowing teachers and other staff more time to support even more kids.

Additionally, two-thirds of our members intend on joining the teacher workforce after service, using the program as a bridge into the profession. Many have opportunities for employment in the very schools they serve. Additionally, more than half of our 2022 program members want to return to service next year. A partnership with MEC is an investment in the future of Michigan’s educator workforce as well as an investment in our students.

Legislators, school districts, and public polls have documented the desire and need for our services. In 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer launched the Governor’s Educator Advisory Council. The council has since released The MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery which recommends increasing funding and access to programs like MEC.

We urge districts to use federal ESSR funds for tutoring and ensure those programs have the features of effective intervention recommended by the council: high-dosage, 3-5 days per week, one-to-one, in-person, and evidence-based.

For the next budget cycle, we requested a budget of $5M that would be used to grow MEC programming and put more interventionists in schools across the state. This is an increase of $1.5M because the demand from our schools and the needs of kids have only increased as a result of the pandemic, especially for our most vulnerable learners who were struggling even before the pandemic.

This is a crucial point for education in Michigan. Future generations depend on the actions of our state leadership by ensuring that all available resources are used in a way that directly impacts and benefits their lives.