Since 2003, Michigan has experienced the highest loss of certified school librarians in the country. With numbers dropping from 1,429 in 2003 to 531 in 2013—a 63 percent loss—Michigan now ranks 46th in the country with one certified working school librarian for every 2,494 students versus the national average of one school librarian for every 1,085 students.
He’s been a legislative aide, an education lobbyist, a university instructor and a local superintendent, but he says he never wanted to be the State Superintendent of Michigan schools. Nevertheless on July 1, Brian Whiston took on that new role at a time when public schools are struggling with tight budgets, the effects of standardized testing, educator evaluations, and relentless criticism.
Yesterday, Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate launched a bold plan to relieve tax burdens on families, seniors and individuals. “Blueprint for Michigan’s Families” would restore nearly $1 billion in tax credits lost in Gov. Snyder’s 2011 tax shift from the middle class, seniors and working families to the $2 billion in tax breaks for big corporations.
When I talk to school employees across Michigan, I hear this frequent frustration — too many decisions that impact students and educators get made by policymakers without input from the experts working every day on the front lines.