What I Learned In School - Michigan Has Rigged The Game Against Public Schools Part 1

I went back to school a couple of days ago in an effort to solidify my understanding of the direction PUBLIC education is taking in Michigan. I found a dozen teachers who agreed to meet with me to a) confirm or deny my belief/understanding/assessment about the effort to privatize education and b) share their concerns with me.



Since meeting with them I have been researching my butt off and had a very fortuitous visit from a customer yesterday who without any prompting from me proceeded to tell me how the Charter School effort is helping millionaires make millions. (He cited one example of a business man he knew who made millions in one business and is now making millions from Charter schools.)

As to point a, I am sad to report that my general view of the current direction was confirmed. Let me sum up my findings with this sentence:

Public Schools in Michigan are being crippled by our current legislators - especially at the House level. 

I want to keep this kind of short, so I am not going to go into a lot of detail (notice it reads "Part 1" up there?). But here are some of the high points I have unearthed.

  1. Millions of dollars in Federal "start up funds" available to only charter schools have been spent in Michigan often with no Charter School starting up at all.
  2. Charter schools are a bastardization of what public schools were meant to be. By that I mean they straddle the line by taking TAX dollars without nearly the scrutiny levied on public schools and yet they are a FOR profit "business". Oddly, this is done with the blessing of the very political party that supposedly abhors government helping businesses turn a profit.
  3. Michigan leads the nation in For Profit Schools.
  4. While we have all heard of the corrupt officials in the DPS who were skimming money - how many of you know about the guy in Traverse City who seems to have gotten away with 3.5 million. (Google "Steve Ingersoll" and see what you come up with.)
Before you write me off as a tool of the MEA, let me remind you that as a Green Party candidate, I cannot take PAC money from anyone. I write these words because I believe them to be true, not because the teacher's union stuffed my campaign account. This is why I am so happy to be associated with the Green Party.

In my opinion, public schools are meant to be that - schools that offer the same opportunity to every student across the state. They are funded and regulated by the State and local school boards.

Private schools are a whole different matter - parents pay for their kids to attend and parents have to make sure they are getting what they paid for.

Charter Schools get their cake and eat it, too. 
Too bad the cake is baked with our tax dollars.



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