Gov. Whitmer, Board of Education, Accused of Attacking School Choice in Michigan

Gov. Whitmer, Board of Education, Accused of Attacking School Choice in Michigan

Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her Board of Education are moving to eliminate school choice by opposing a ballot initiative already approved by the GOP-controlled legislature providing vouchers to the parents of more than 1 million students so they can send them to a school of their choosing.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the state board of education passed a resolution Tuesday opposing the Let MI Kids Learn ballot initiative. The measure is similar to legislation that has been utilized in dozens of other states that provide families tax credits so they can send their kids to private schools.

If the measure garners at least 340,000 signatures, the proposal will be placed on the November ballot without Whitmer’s signature. She vetoed similar bills in October that contained the school choice initiative after both chambers of the Michigan legislature passed them; she claimed that they created “tax shelters for the wealthy,” a standard throw-away class warfare line Democrats routinely use to deny their constituents choice.

The choice to terminate a growing baby’s life prematurely? Democrats say of course, in every circumstance. But providing students with better primary school choices? Absolutely not because that offends major Democrat donors, the teachers’ unions.

The Free Beacon added:

Democrats and members of national teachers’ union organizations have consistently opposed school choice initiatives. President Joe Biden’s Education Department drew fire in May when it proposed a cut to federal funding for some charter schools. School choice and educational voucher programs are supported in one form or another by more than 65 percent of public school parents. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has also found school choice alternatives are more likely to serve poor or minority student populations in Michigan.

Michigan superintendent Michael Rice said the Michigan Student Opportunity Accounts program would “devastate” public schools and reduce state revenue by $500 million in the first year. But Mackinac Center for Public Policy director of education policy Ben DeGrow argued looking at only the revenue impact obscures the program’s overall fiscal effect.

“The State Board majority and superintendent have consistently taken the side of a broken K-12 system over the neglected needs of many students,” DeGrow told the outlet.

“Looking only at the revenue side ignores the fact that the program would have a very small fiscal impact, and likely a favorable one. … The only way school systems would be devastated is if large numbers of students leave because they’re being poorly served,” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic took a major toll on students, especially in Democrat-run states like Michigan where they were kept out of in-person classes far longer than was necessary — again, as a sop to the teacher’s unions. According to a Harvard University study released last month, K-12 students who attended classes remotely in the 2020-2021 school year lost 50 percent of their math curriculum training. And that’s just one subject; other studies have shown how much of a negative mental strain millions of other students suffered (needlessly).

The Free Beacon notes: “More than 20 other states have enacted similar voucher programs. Funded by donations, the Michigan Student Opportunity Accounts would allow 90 percent of public school students to use tax credits on online classes, school supplies, tutoring and tuition, transportation, textbooks, and skilled training and CTE expenses.”

“Every child deserves a fair shot to succeed, no matter their background, their family’s income, or their learning challenges,” Let MI Kids Learn’s website says.


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