This morning, I received a letter from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that I thought you should all see:
As a new school year is upon us, I wanted to reach out and tell you again how much I respect and appreciate the hard work you do on behalf of our kids. Preparing our students for success isn’t an easy calling, and we all know that the past decade of starving our public schools of necessary resources has made your work much more difficult.
I also wanted to reassure you that I am continuing to fight every single day to get a state budget passed that respects our educators, makes the biggest investment in our kids’ education in a generation, increases funding for colleges and universities, creates pathways for every Michigan student to achieve postsecondary success, and yes, fixes our failing infrastructure. I proposed my budget about six months ago and am proud that it makes real, meaningful investments in our public education system and our infrastructure. I recognize that we can’t keep kicking the can down the road. It’s time for our leaders to step up and make bold investments that will put everyone in Michigan on a path to success.
As you’re no doubt aware, for the first time in nine years, the Legislature hasn’t completed a budget in June. Instead, they’ve taken the summer off and have offered no meaningful alternatives to both invest in education and fix our infrastructure. Instead, they presented me with a plan that will cut public education resources and won’t raise a fraction of the revenue we need to fix the roads. Like I’ve said many times before, I will not accept a plan that balances the budget on the backs of our students and educators.
I know the Legislature’s choice to take the summer off means that you’ve been operating for nearly two months without an education budget. You deserve better. Please know that while I am working day and night to get a deal and avoid a state government shutdown, I must also responsibly prepare for that outcome. I am asking that you continue to do the best you can and if you want to lend your voice, please reach out to your legislators and tell them what a bold investment would mean to you and your students.
I have traveled all across our state, doing nearly 70 townhalls, presentations and roundtables to talk to Michiganders about why getting this right is so important to our future. The people of Michigan know that doing nothing is not an option. They’re ready for real, bold leadership in Lansing that will help take us from the back of the pack to the front when it comes to education and infrastructure.
As someone who grew up in, and has kids attending, our public school system, I have a deep respect for your leadership and commitment to our kids. I can assure you that I will continue to fight so that you’re treated with the respect you deserve and so every child in Michigan can get a great public education.
Governor of Michigan
MEA members – for our students and for our profession, we need to raise our voices NOW in support of a real budget solution.
Please contact your legislators today and encourage them to work with Gov. Whitmer to provide the school funding our students deserve.