Thanks to nearly a decade of total Republican control and years of cuts to public education, Michigan schools are struggling to afford resources for their students and educators. Between the Education Achievement Authority, cuts to teachers’ pensions, and stifling budget cuts to K-12 education here in the state, it’s no surprise that students are performing worse and teacher dissatisfaction is on the rise.
In the last 10 years, we’ve seen a 12% decrease in average pay for Michigan teachers. New studies have also found that one in five teachers leave the profession after five years. And as the cost of college continues to rise, young people are afraid to pursue a career where they’ll be introduced to the workforce with such a low salary. With all the ingredients handy to create a recipe for disaster, it’s time to stop this problem in its tracks.
In March, Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed a $507 million funding increase to public schools in the education budget. The proposal would not only increase spending per pupil by $180, but also focus on schools that have been heavily underfunded. This may prove difficult when Republicans would rather please corporate donors like Betsy Devos and support for-profit charter schools, which have proven not to create equal opportunities for all students.
On Tuesday, June 18th at 10am and Tuesday, June 25th at 11am educators and their unions, students, parents and public education supporters from across the state will gather on the Capitol Lawn in Lansing to speak out for public education funding at #RedforEd rallies. Michigan can be a state where every student at public school has a chance to succeed—but only if we show up, speak out, and fight for the future students and educators deserve.