Mike Addonizio, professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of Education, quoted in Chalkbeat Detroit, "‘The wrong formula’: Education advocates call for new approach to how schools get coronavirus aid"

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Chalkbeat Detroit, 6/24

‘The wrong formula’: Education advocates call for new approach to how schools get coronavirus aid

By Koby Levin

Michigan school systems got vastly different amounts of per-student federal coronavirus aid — even when the districts serve roughly the same percentage of low-income families. These disparities raise questions about fairness and also about how any future federal aid will be handed out. The Detroit Public Schools Community District, for example, with 81% of its students eligible for the federal lunch program, received $1,684 per student. Outside the district, Rutherford Winans Academy, a Detroit charter, received $640 in federal aid per pupil, even though 83% of students qualify for the lunch program, which is linked to family income. Meanwhile, Bangor Public Schools, a rural district in western Michigan where 80% of students are eligible for the lunch program, received $278 per student. With Michigan facing a $2.39 billion shortfall in its education budget, schools across the state are bracing for what could be the largest cut in state history. At the same time, they are anticipating increased costs — $1 billion statewide, according to one education group’s estimate — linked to buying masks and providing internet connections for students. Mike Addonizio, a professor of education at Wayne State University, said it makes sense that so much of the federal COVID-19 aid went to the Detroit district and others that enroll many students in poverty. Students living in poverty are less likely to have the technologies and other support that they need to effectively learn from home. “You get the impression that the money is going to the right place,” he said. He added that it’s no surprise that the federal aid package wasn’t perfect: It was designed in a hurry as lawmakers rushed to limit the economic fallout from the pandemic. “When you’re in an emergency situation like we’re in now, you can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” he said.