In Blog, Legislative Update, Press Release

Since 2011, too many lawmakers have sided with Betsy DeVos to push an education agenda that included slashing school funding and attacking our frontline educators. This approach has left Michigan near the bottom of almost every metric, from literacy to college preparedness.

Gretchen Whitmer’s “Get It Done: Better Schools Now for Michigan Students” plan will counter that damaging agenda by working with educators who know best what students need to succeed. Leaders of Michigan’s two public education employee unions – the Michigan Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers Michigan – applauded Whitmer’s education plan after its release today in Lansing.

“We need a governor who will always put our students first, and that’s exactly what this plan does,” said AFT Michigan President David Hecker. “Gretchen’s plan will ensure all students get a high-quality public education from cradle to career so they can learn the skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

Specifically, this plan will help students get ahead by moving Michigan to universal preschool, tripling the number of literacy coaches in our schools, and by improving skills training and career counseling so every student can get on a path to a good-paying job whether college is right for them or not. Whitmer’s plan values development of the creativity and problem solving skills that employers need – not the ineffective over-emphasis on standardized testing pushed by DeVos and her allies, like Rick Snyder, Brian Calley and Bill Schuette.

Whitmer’s plan will also stabilize our broken school finance system through a weighted funding formula based on students’ varied needs while ending lawmakers’ raids on the School Aid Fund. She will also push for strong transparency and accountability measures for all public schools – including for-profit-operated charter schools and their management companies.

“This plan addresses so many needs we hear from front-line educators, from greater respect for the profession to ensuring our schools foster the workforce our economy needs,” said MEA President Paula Herbart. “Our members are motivated, energized, and ready to work with Gretchen to make this education plan a reality so we can build a better Michigan for everyone. Let’s get it done.”

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