Protect and Advocate for strong public-school education.
Public education is a pillar in a civilized society and a key to a thriving local community and state. We invest in public institutions and they, in turn, invest back into society for the universal public good. There's no doubt that the current plight of public education is one of the most critical issues facing our state. District 45 is lucky to have two highquality public schools within its borders: Rochester Community Schools and Avondale Public Schools.
Stop using the School Aid fund to fill holes in the state budget.
Michigan’s general fund is at the same level today as 20 years ago. The 2011 tax cuts to [small] business put general fund dollars in a shell game to cover shortfalls in areas like the School Aid Fund. State funding for this essential fund should not be tapped into or reappropriated for any reason. Educating our children and inspiring future leaders must be Michigans top priority.
Fund public education based on student needs, not zip code.
Informing funding for public education comes from sound research and data. Research shows that Michigan isn’t funding public education at a pace that keeps up with the rate of inflation, which is problematic. A weighted formula that is student-focused considers that no one child learns the same, and it provides equity, transparency, and it differentiates based on need.
Fully fund special education so all students benefit.
We need to re-invest in IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and provide state funding for special education students. Rochester Community Schools has the 3rd largest number of special needs students in Oakland County. The unique cost associated with educating special needs students, (staffing and supplies), are often absorbed by local communities and school districts, lowering the per dollar amount allocated for each student in the area.
Continue to invest and end the stigma of skilled trades education.
It is a moral and ethical obligation for the state to invest both in education as well as
practical skills and job training equally. This investment ensures that all students receive applicable skills to enter the workforce.
Mandate transparency, public accountability, and cap future Michigan Charter school growth.
Charter schools must operate under the same rules as public schools, allowing all students equal access. Like for-profit businesses, they should not receive public tax dollars, which funnel Michigan tax dollars out of state to for-profit charter investors.
Teacher Shortage: Less talk, more action.
The legislature has anguished over K-12 teacher shortages, while passing legislation that's been punitive at best on educators.
A 70% drop since 2012 in Michigan Teacher prep programs, uncertified, long-term substitutes, and a rate of pay for teachers in Michigan that hasn't kept up with the pace of inflation since 2009. Furthermore, the rate is 20% less than professionals with comparable educational backgrounds.
We need thoughtful, pragmatic, and forward-thinking strategies such as:
Investing in the professional field of teaching, bringing teachers to the table, providing paid internships for student teachers, developing a teacher residency model, incentivizing and reducing cost barriers, and providing mentors to aspiring K-12 teachers.
With these changes, we can make Michigan, once again, the state our nation looks to for the education and training of the best of the best in the field of teaching.