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Michigan Gov Inadvertently Bans Homeschooling Until Non-Profit Law Firm Steps In

04-13-2020
migovgretchenwhitmer
Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI). (Image credit: Michigan.gov)

When Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued her executive order on April 2 closing all public school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she inadvertently banned all homeschooling, because of the language in the order.  Now, because of a non-profit law firm's swift action, the governor's office has clarified that homeschooling is not prohibited in the Wolverine State. 

Michigan law defines home schools as non-public schools. The governor's executive order as it read, barred parents from directly teaching at home.

The Great Lakes Justice Center, (GLJC) a non-profit law firm, called on Gov. Whitmer to correct the language in her executive order.

The language of paragraph 1.A. of the order banned homeschooling for the remainder of this school year, according to the GLJC.

"In-person instruction for pupils in kindergarten through grade 12 ("K12") is suspended for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year..." and "section 1. A applies to all... non-public... schools in the state," the order read. 

"She just outlawed homeschooling," Great Lakes Justice Attorney David Kallman told CBN News. "I think this is sloppy drafting of the order and an unintended consequence. I don't think she meant to outlaw homeschooling. But the language is there. We called on the governor to clarify and correct this error."

On Monday, the governor's office issued a provision of the executive order, detailing that the order does not prohibit homeschooling. In addition, Michigan school districts can resume "in-person" instruction if the state of emergency stops before the end of this school year. 

"This is exactly what we asked her to clarify so we are pleased with her response," Kallman said. 

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