GLEP: Population Workgroup K-12 Proposal Won’t Attract – or Appease – Desperate Parents

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Population Council Leader Admits Plan Won’t Boost Population

LANSING – Great Lakes Education Project Executive Director Beth DeShone provided the. following response today after a presentation in Detroit by John Rakolta highlighting spending requests from Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s partisan population K-12 workgroup. Rakolta admitted to the media that his workgroup’s proposals will not lead to population gains in Michigan until 2050 at the earliest.

“Gretchen Whitmer isn’t serious about fixing Michigan’s population crisis and neither was her population workgroup. We’ll never address Michigan’s demographic crisis until we end Lansing’s attacks on parents and their kids.

“Parents have been clear about what they need to help their kids catch up after the governor locked them out of their schools. Parents need options. The Governor has done nothing but veto them and throw more money at her own failed department.”

Instead of equipping parents with funding and options to meet the specific and unique needs of their very different children, the council’s proposal would merely add a reported additional $3 billion in funding to an already broken system. While Whitmer pushes for a bigger public school bureaucracy, she has fought like hell to limit options for exasperated parents and their struggling learners.

  • Governor Whitmer vetoed $10 million in new funding for tutoring programs in 2021. The funding was designed to reimburse parents who enrolled their children in summer learning programs to combat learning loss after Whitmer locked kids out of the classroom in 2020.
  • Whitmer vetoed $155 million in additional funding for reading scholarships to help struggling readers catch up after school closures. The program would have offered $1,000 in tutoring funding to more than 125,000 students, provided $31.5 million for literacy coaches, and millions for teacher professional development in the science of reading.
  • The Governor vetoed Student Opportunity Scholarships that would have provided up to $500 million in new funding for more than 1 million Michigan K-12 students to use for academic supports including tutoring.
  • She also declined to support legislation introduced last February to provide tutoring grantsto address learning loss.

Every year that Gretchen Whitmer has been Governor, public education spending from the state has increased, while there have been significant declines in educational outcomes for students.

Test scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress identified devastating learning loss across Michigan.

The NAEP scores – often referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card” put Michigan’s 4th grade reading scores at 40th in the nation, with 4th grade math scores little better at 35th. The scores plummeted over the last 2 years amidst unscientific school closures mandated by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and public school bureaucrats.

NAEP numbers mirror test results reported in September by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) which also indicated our students have fallen faster and farther behind in reading and math than ever imagined.

According to NCES, average scores for age 9 students fell further than at any time in more than 3 decades, while math scores for the same students declined for the first time since the implementation of the testing.

Learning experts attribute our students’ lost learning to decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic to lock children out of their classrooms, despite warnings from pediatricians and public health experts that school closures would do more harm than good.

The Great Lakes Education Project is a bi-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization supporting quality choices in public education for all Michigan students. GLEP strongly supports efforts to improve academic achievement, increase accountability and empower parental choice in our schools.