If every student is going to get a great education, then we have to provide the funding so that every student gets the support they need. The Republican education budgets presented Thursday in legislative conference committee fail to do that.
MEA members need to act now to tell lawmakers to reject this budget and advocate for a funding system that gets every student what they need and deserve.
Aside from not reaching the total K-12 education increase of $500 million proposed by Gov. Whitmer – and falling short of her proposed 3% increases for community colleges and universities – the budget being pushed by GOP legislative leaders fails to implement a weighted funding formula that directs more funding to the students who need the most help.
- Special education students, who must have their learning needs met in order to achieve academically and in life.
- At-risk students, whose battle with poverty and other factors outside of school can leave them lagging behind without additional support and resources to succeed.
- Career and technical education students, whose success after high school depends on them beginning to craft their future plans and see the value of life-long education and training.
We owe it to these students to not take the easy way out – to not pretend that “equal” funding is “equitable” funding. If we focus only on how much we spend, and not on how we spend it, we risk leaving countless students behind because their needs are more costly.
There’s broad consensus that we need a weighted funding system for education. Whatever the per pupil increases passed this month end up being, they’ll only be a small fraction of the $2,000 per pupil shortfall identified by the School Finance Research Collaborative – and that gap is before taking into account higher cost items like special education, at-risk programs and career/technical education. Failing to address both the per-pupil funding and these weighted funding needs is a missed opportunity that our students can no longer afford.
That’s why Launch Michigan, a diverse partnership of education, labor, business and philanthropic groups, have agreed that a weighted funding system is necessary.
Our students need us to be champions for them as the budget process moves toward its end.
Contact your legislators today. Urge them to reject the conference education budgets that shortchange K-12, community college and university students – and to stand with Gov. Whitmer in calling for a weighted funding formula that helps our students who need it most.