By Ingrid Jacques
State Democrats haven’t taken kindly to the governor’s backed re-write of the School Aid Act. A draft is now available, and then the Legislature will likely act on it next month.
The re-written version is far less sexy than all the reaction indicates. It allows education dollars to follow students directly. For instance, if a student wants to take most of his classes at his home district, but also wants to take an online course or a class at a nearby charter school, he could do that – and each school would be compensated accordingly.
This gives students and parents much more control over shaping their education. The money would only head toward public schools, so it’s not a voucher system at all. That’s not allowed under Michigan’s Constitution anyway.
But that is not what Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer and others in the education establishment would have you believe.
Here’s a few graphs from a recent news release from Whitmer:
In response to a draft plan released today by the Oxford Foundation on behalf of Governor Snyder that would replace Michigan’s public education system with a voucher plan, Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer issued the following response:
“The Kalamazoo Promise is a national example of how reinvesting in our local schools has created unequaled success for the city, its schools and its students, yet instead of modeling a statewide program after it, the Governor has done the exact opposite and his latest voucher plan would simply end public schools as we know them.”
This rhetoric is simply untrue. Gov. Rick Snyder has the best interest of students in mind. He should be applauded, not berated. Plus, Michigan would become one of a small number of states allowing students more flexibility. Other states would pay close attention. It would be refreshing for this state to prove forward-thinking in education; too often, we are catching up to what other states have already done.
If you want to see what the draft actually says, check it out at the Oxford Foundation’s website.