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Michigan Public School Supporters Take Wrong Approach to State Funding

2019-06-25

Public school advocates such as unions and anti-charter school groups have challenged the state of Michigan policy allowing for public funds for private schools. These funds are now intended to fund state mandates for private education institutions. Regardless of how the legislation was originally purposed, the law is now positioned as reimbursing private schools for mandatory actions per state law.

Opponents to this policy state this violates the Michigan constitution which forbids taxes from being used to fund private education, specifically religious institutions. Proponents have been successful in the current enactment of the law. The Michigan Supreme Court is reportedly going to deliberate some or all of this law to determine its constitutionality. But for opponents this may be the wrong interpretation.

Another approach is to place education on an even playing field. If the current legislation equates private schools to public education, then let all state funding reflect this policy. Public schools should carve out those actions that are shared by private schools and seek the same level of reimbursement from the state. Why should public schools spend money on state mandates instead of educating children when private schools are not forced to do so. This then causes a required increase in educational funding from the state for these same state mandates.

The Republican policy in michigan is anti-public education. For nearly three decades Republicans have tried to eliminate public education specifically in majority Black communities. This has succeeded. The introduction of charter schools, private institutions and now private schools receiving state funding have hurt michigan public schools. This is largely due to the political influencers, the teacher unions and the anti-charter movement focusing on eliminating these new policies as opposed to seeking a more positive method of action. This has placed public education in opposition to private education.

It’s still unconstitutional for the government to fund a religious institution. But it happens. Many government programs exist that are run by or housed in a religious institution. The current fight is not going to eliminate this reality. If Democrats instead focused on the equal treatment as opposed to separate educational policies they may have more success.



Original Article
https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/06/25/michigan-supreme-court-private-school-funding/1556397001/

 

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