Opinion: Closing skills gap must be top priority in Michigan

As superintendent of Wayne RESA, I see firsthand the skills gap that continues to separate Michigan’s students from good-paying jobs in competitive fields.

Through no fault of their own, students here in Wayne County and across Michigan continue falling behind, causing them to lose out on opportunities to their peers in other states and around the globe.

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Grand Rapids-area school districts join statewide push for more funding

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – West Michigan school leaders are among dozens across the state sending lawmakers resolutions they approved urging them for more funding to support students.

School leaders want lawmakers to use the 2018 study by the School Finance Research Collaborative that examined school funding in Michigan as a blueprint for revamping the funding system to cover the true cost of educating students.

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Educators urged to back school funding reform

Some Berrien County school officials are sending a message to state lawmakers who are putting together next year’s budget, saying the way the state funds public schools is “fundamentally broken” and needs to be fixed to reflect the true cost of educating students.

That’s according to a resolution passed recently by trustees in at least two Berrien County school districts – Coloma and Lakeshore – and by the members of the Berrien RESA Board of Education.

The resolution calls for the state to change to a weighted school funding formula that provides more money to school districts for children who are in poverty and special education, or who are English language learners. The state currently gives schools districts a flat rate for each student, with some extra funding for students in special education.

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Inadequate funding – even in affluent districts – still short-changes students

Many people assume that of all 20 Kent County public school districts, Forest Hills has the most money to spend on their students.

In a way that’s right, and in a way that’s wrong.

The suburban district of nearly 10,000 students received $8,409 in the state-funded, per-student foundation allowance this school year, along with Caledonia. That’s the highest allocation in Kent ISD, and $538 more per student than the 14 districts in our area receiving the minimum state foundation allowance of $7,871 per pupil.

But what you may not know is that Forest Hills is getting less money per student than it did 10 years ago, despite mounting costs, inflation and occasional small increases in state funding.

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Numerous People & Groups Speak Up About State Budget Proposal

LANSING, Mich. — A number of groups and individuals shared their opinions on the Governor’s State Budget:

If passed, Gov. Whitmer’s budget plan would triple the state’s number of literacy coaches and create a weighted formula to improve classroom resources for:

  • Special education needs
  • Low-income and at-risk children
  • Career and Technical Education programs

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Michigan must fix school funding model for students to shine

Our one-size-fits all funding formula ignores the reality that every child is unique. The formula hasn’t kept up with rapidly changing technological or social changes. If we take into consideration each child’s individual needs, individual outcomes will be better and our schools will be successful. Ensure that a student in the Upper Peninsula has access to online learning opportunities with broadband, provide meals to a student who comes to school hungry. Don’t consider funding for special education something “extra.”

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Michigan’s school funding approach needs a facelift

As president of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research for 25 years, I witnessed a growing gap between the demands of the modern workforce and the skills of students graduating from Michigan’s K-12 public education system.

This gap is bad for our kids, bad for business and bad for Michigan.

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Michigan schools need a fairer funding model for all students

As Superintendent of Wayne RESA, I read with great interest a recent Bridge guest commentary by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

While there has been dueling commentary over the past several years about whether funding for Michigan schools has increased or decreased, school officials doing the actual work in local districts know clearly what has happened over the past many years.

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Letter to the Editor: Time to fix school funding method

As a Detroit-area businessman, I read with great interest the Crain’s letter to the editor, “Money hasn’t solved educational woes” (Crain’s, March 2).

There are some undeniable facts when it comes to Michigan’s broken, outdated school funding method and the need for a new, fairer approach that helps prepare all students for the modern workforce.

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Groups Speak Out in Support of Gov. Whitmer’s Education Budget

LANSING, Mich. — The School Finance Research Collaborative applauded Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for calling for a new school funding approach that will help meet the unique needs of all Michigan students.

“We applaud Gov. Whitmer for calling for a new, fairer school funding approach that will help meet the needs of all Michigan students,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director. “We look forward to working with Gov. Whitmer on a new funding method that provides all students the same opportunity to get a high-quality education and compete for jobs.”

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