Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee granted subpoena power

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Wednesday adopted a resolution granting subpoena power to the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee to obtain state records and files.

“The Whitmer administration’s response to the coronavirus has severely affected our students’ education,” said committee chairwoman Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton. “Through no fault of their own, too many students are struggling academically, falling behind or, in some cases, have stopped participating in school altogether because of educational decisions made by the administration and education elites over the past year.”

Theis said the committee’s subpoena power is a natural progression from recent committee hearings, where lawmakers heard firsthand from students, athletes, parents, educators, administrators and government officials on the impact of forced virtual learning and the need to return students to in-person education.

“As we work to get our schools back on track and plan for the future of our state’s educational system, it is essential that the committee has full access to accurate information, to learn from past mistakes and to avoid making them again,” Theis said. “This will take continued, broader oversight, a return to equal access to in-person learning for all students and creative solutions to make up for time lost.”

Along with the adoption of Senate Resolution 23, Theis and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey submitted the committee’s first request to the state Department of Education for certain data and documents related to the teacher student data link (TSDL) — information that has been required by law to be collected, maintained and processed over the past decade.

The committee is seeking TSDL data to analyze student academic growth and decline, compare student outcomes on a classroom-by-classroom basis, and project outcomes for students based upon their test data, for the purposes of designing individualized plans to help every student recover from learning loss over the past year, as well as to inform other policymaking decisions.

The department has until March 9 to provide the requested information to the committee.

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