Senate Democrats Slash Public School Funding

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LANSING – The Great Lakes Education Project today opposed a move by the Senate K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee that raided $631 million from teacher pension benefits and slashed funding for some public schools by 20%. The education cuts were requested by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Today’s action:
– Stripped $631 million out of teacher pension benefit funds,
– Slashed funding for public school teachers who teach online learners,
– Takes desperately needed dollars out of the classroom by offering them instead to Intermediate School District (ISD) bureaucrats, and more.

“Senate Democrats launched a war on public school teachers today,” said Beth DeShone, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Department. “Michigan kids are in crisis and their parents are scrambling to get them help. Lansing’s response has been to attack public school teachers and to slash funding for public schools. These cuts won’t help kids read and they won’t help our teachers teach. The House and the full Senate should reject these astounding cuts immediately.”

While the Senate K-12 Appropriations subcommittee slashed funding for public schools, a devastating new report from researchers at Harvard and Stanford University recently showed Michigan’s kids have lost nearly a half a grade level in reading and math education since state officials and public school bureaucrats ignored medical science and locked them out of the classroom in 2020 and 2021.

The number of schools and districts in crisis has risen steeply over the last 4 years. According to a report from Gongwer News Service, the number of schools in need of comprehensive support went up from 162 in 2016-2017 to 255. Those in need of additional targeted support are up from 60 to 68, and those targeted for support and improvement are up from 63 to 138.

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

The NAEP scores – often referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card” put Michigan’s 4th grade reading scores at 43rd 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.