Providing a quality education for our kids should be a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, the relentless attacks on public education have dismantled schools and driven many of our best and brightest teachers from the classroom, leaving students with an education that doesn’t meet the needs of employers or standards of universities.
It is critical we invest in educational talent to ensure students are prepared for college, training and 21st-century jobs.
Michigan’s Republican-controlled legislature has forced policies that have gutted our public education system, hurting students, teachers and communities.
Unaccountable For-Profit Schools: For-profit schools have one thing in mind: making money, even at the expense of student performance. A 2016 report concluded that these policies, authored by Betsy DeVos and supported by Republicans, caused Michigan’s K-12 system to plummet to one of the weakest in the nation.
Experienced Teachers Leaving: Exceptional teachers are leaving the profession for places where their expertise is trusted and valued. This, in turn, has cost school districts more time and money and led to overcrowding in the classroom.
Widespread Underfunding: If we expect students to compete for 21st-century jobs, why are schools not being funded at 21st-century levels? Betsy Devos’s for-profit schools have funneled money away from traditional public schools, leading to overcrowded classrooms, outdated technology and diminishing access to supplies.
Michigan has been used as an experiment to test failed Republican policies which have cost taxpayers millions of dollars and even led to the closure of entire schools.
Senate Democrats have proposed the first serious investment in public education in more than a decade. The recently introduced TeA+chers for Michigan bill package will:
- End Overcrowding: Reduce class size to one teacher for every 20 students to make sure every student gets the attention they need.
- Boost Funding: Ensure all students have the same opportunities to succeed by eliminating funding gaps between school districts.
- Promote Teaching: Enhance mentoring programs, professional development and incentives such as loan forgiveness for individuals who become teachers.
- Close Loopholes: Improve accountability of for-profit schools.
- Expand Early Education: Make early childhood education, including pre-kindergarten programs, available to all students to remedy achievement gaps.
It is critical we invest in the right tools and talent to prepare our kids for the future. Michigan teachers need our support, rather than continuing down a failed path.
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