Statement from MEA President on Snyder budget proposal

EAST LANSING, Mich., Feb. 9, 2012 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook in response to today’s education budget proposals from Gov. Rick Snyder: 

“We appreciate that Gov. Snyder wants to put some funding back into public education. From educators and economists to parents and politicians, we all know that strong public schools are essential for a strong economy.

“Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposed increase falls short of what voters want to see – a full restoration of last year’s $1 billion cut to public education. 

“Politically speaking, a proposal for more education funds isn’t surprising – it’s the thing that most Michigan voters are angry about with the Governor and his Republican Legislature.  The real question for politicians is: How do they prioritize adequate, equitable, stable funding for schools and students over the long haul? 

“Putting a fraction of that $1 billion back into schools doesn’t fix the problems that such a massive cut caused last year – it only continues to enrich the corporate special interests who benefitted from the $1.8 billion tax cut that the education cuts enabled.

“Adding more hurdles for schools to jump through to get more funding – from basing funding on standardized tests to pushing more unproven ideas as ‘best practices’ – doesn’t help either. Schools and students already suffering from last year’s budget cuts don’t need more hoops; they need more help.  They need adequate funding to meet the end goal that we all want – a well-educated and successful workforce that is attractive to employers investing in Michigan.                            

“But rather than investing in that workforce, Gov. Snyder continues to push the concept that handing more money to corporations is the answer. In fact, with the recent unlimited expansion of for-profit charter schools and the proposed expansion of for-profit cyber schools, the ones who will benefit most from this proposed increase in funding may well be the corporations running those untested programs. 

“We hope Republican legislators see the failure of this strategy for our kids and our communities.  We hope they push back against the small increase the Governor is proposing and insist on full restoration of school funding for our students.  Anything less than putting the money back into schools is just another case where politicians are standing up for CEOs instead of our kids.”

Contact: Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Public Affairs, 517-337-5566