Dale Hansen in the Detroit News explains in this blog post how Governor Rick Snyder has underfunded the public schools while claiming (falsely) to have increased funding.
By the way, the title of his article is: “Governor Rick Snyder Is Working to Destroy Public Education.”
He shows how the Governor is pushing teachers out of the pension system, contributing to its woes as there are fewer teachers to pay into it.
He shows how the Governor favors charter schools, and will continue to convert public schools into charter schools wherever and whenever possible.
More than 80% of the charters in Michigan are operated for-profit, meaning that taxpayers’ dollars are going to pay off investors and stockholders, not into the classroom where they belong.
Regardless of all of these potential problem areas, Rick Snyder and Michigan Republicans know that every school they deem failing will simply be converted to a charter school, which pulls more students out of traditional public schools. This means less teachers contributing to the public retirement fund and with fewer teachers contributing it requires the state to kick in more. The perception then becomes that greedy teachers are taking money out of the classroom and that public schools are expensive and inefficient.
This is the self-fulfilling prophecy Republicans hope will be the undoing of public schools. The Republican solution to inefficient and expensive public schools makes public schools more inefficient and expensive. It’s a win-win for Republicans. They make public schools look bad while simultaneously putting more kids on the charter school gravy train.
The question of money in education is important but when it comes to the Michigan governor’s race the better question should be, what do we want our education system to look like in the future? Do we want schools that are subject to local checks and balances or a couple massive corporations that make their money based on quantity, not quality? Because regardless of how much either candidate pledges to spend, their goals are profoundly different.