Education Policy In Michigan Essay

2340 words - 9 pages

An outdated education system is the largest problem Michigan faces because it affects not only the present, but also the future of the state. Important issues cannot be solved, nor policies created to remedy them, if the people attempting to solve them are not equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to make informed decisions. The state cannot run itself, let alone the nation as a whole, if its’ people are uneducated. The Constitution, the very basis of our government, relies heavily on the assumption that citizens of the United States are able to make knowledgeable and well-reasoned decisions, the types of which cannot be made when a person does not receive a proper education. This proper education is unattainable when low educational funding occurs. Lowering educational funding leads to lower standardized test scores, lack of resources, and an overall poorer education (Roy 2003). Even with these results educational funding has consistently been put upon the chopping block at all levels of government. Governor Rick Snyder’s budget cuts $470 per pupil for the 2012 fiscal year, while promising only small incentives to be added when re-balancing the budget in 2013 (Resmovits 2012). Snyder’s cuts in education stand in sharp contrast to the budget and policy passed in 1994, by then Governor John Engler. Engler, along with the House and Senate, created Proposal A. This policy increased funding to all levels of education, reduced the large funding gap between poorer and richer school districts, and opened schools of choice. Proposal A was largely effective in its’ objectives, but was unable to maintain the projected budget needed to maintain efficiency due to the recession, and Michigan laws requiring education cuts when school revenues fall below projections (Hoffman, Cuts to education hurt Gov. Jennifer Granholm's education legacy 2010). After several years of success, the required cuts along with economic woes rendered Proposal A largely ineffective and unable to properly fund Michigan’s schools, creating a massive problem in the way Michigan school districts are to be funded, as well as developing a need for new educational policy to supplement or overhaul Proposal A and the Michigan educational system.
The educational funding problem in Michigan takes root back in 1809, when the first public school was founded. While funding was not an issue at the time, the way schools were funded through local property taxes eventually created a large problem. Fast forward to 1985, Michigan has long moved past the rural cities of the 1800’s and into affluent suburbs and cities. The size and taxation pools of cities have greatly changed from 1809 to 1985, but the way schools were funded remained exactly the same. This lack of change led to a large disparity in school funding from richer districts to poorer districts. Coupled together with local governments’ inability to convince citizens to vote in favor of millages and tax hikes, the disparity...

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