FACT CHECK: Governor Whitmer Is Improving Education and Empowering Students, Parents, and Educators￼
The Republican gubernatorial candidates are launching baseless attacks against Governor Whitmer to distract from their dangerous plans to gut funding for public schools.
Governor Whitmer is focused on improving education in Michigan and empowering educators and parents with the tools they need to help students thrive. Whitmer made the largest investment in K-12 education in Michigan history, without raising taxes, and she has tripled the number of literacy coaches, closed the funding gap between schools, and helped reduce class sizes to give students individualized attention.
Governor Whitmer Worked with Republicans to Get Kids Safely Back to School and Urged School Districts to Return to In-Person Learning
- Thanks to Governor Whitmer’s leadership, every school district in Michigan has returned to in-person learning.
- Governor Whitmer has been “crystal clear” that virtual classes are “not sustainable” and “not as fulfilling or conducive to a child’s growth” as she urged schools to return to in-person learning.
- In 2020, Governor Whitmer secured the bipartisan “Return to Learn” plan that encouraged schools to move to in-person learning and provided them with the $580 million in resources to help schools safely bring students back into classrooms, including $73 million in hazard pay for teachers and staff.
- To facilitate transition back to the classroom, Whitmer distributed hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 tests to schools.
- Whitmer signed a bipartisan supplemental funding bill in February that included $150 million for testing in schools, “deliver[ing] on Democrats’ and Republicans’ shared goals of keeping students learning in school.”
Governor Whitmer Has Repeatedly Affirmed Parents’ Right To Be Involved in Their Children’s Education
- As a parent of two kids who went to Michigan public schools, Governor Whitmer knows how important it is that parents have a say in their children’s education.
- While serving in the legislature, Governor Whitmer voted multiple times in favor of legislation requiring schools to involve parents including a bill mandating that schools adopt and implement parent involvement plans “designed to encourage parental participation” in schools.
Governor Whitmer Made the Largest Investment in K-12 Education in Michigan History Without Raising Taxes
- Governor Whitmer worked across the aisle to make the largest investment in K-12 education in state history. Her historic investment boosted overall funding for schools by 10 percent and increased per-pupil funding by nearly $600 for 80 percent of districts, while the districts that already received the most funding saw a $171 per-student increase.
- Whitmer’s bipartisan victory for Michigan public education closed the school funding gap, “a goal the legislature has been working toward since 1994,” said Republican Rep. Timothy Beson, and is helping districts reduce class sizes and give students individualized attention.
- Whitmer’s budget is delivering $50,000 per school building or $250,000 per school district for school safety initiatives, cutting the costs of standardized testing, making dental screenings more accessible in economically disadvantaged districts, helping more students afford nutritious, Michigan farmer-grown school lunches, and increasing job training opportunities for students through manufacturing and engineering programs.
- To support students’ physical and mental health, Governor Whitmer secured $240 million to hire over 650 new psychologists, counselors, social workers, and nurses for 210 school districts throughout Michigan. In the upcoming budget, Whitmer is fighting to invest more than $360 million in school-based mental health services.
- Whitmer has tripled the number of literacy coaches, ensuring that more Michigan kids can access individualized help.
- To prevent devastating funding cuts to public schools, Whitmer vetoed “the latest effort by legislative Republicans to create a school voucher system in Michigan” that could have siphoned upwards of $500 million annually from public education.
Governor Whitmer Expanded Affordable Early Childhood Education to Tens of Thousands of Children
- Thanks to Whitmer’s bipartisan work securing funding, she helped enroll 35,000 4-year olds in high quality, affordable preschool through the homegrown Great Start Readiness Program. By expanding GSRP, Governor Whitmer is ensuring all 65,000 children eligible for affordable early education can actually enroll in the enrichment programs they deserve. Whitmer’s investment amounts to a 67 percent funding increase in GSRP.
- The program goes a long way to setting kids up for success, particularly in boosting performance in math, and this additional funding is helping “steady the child care sector in Michigan’s lowest-income communities” and “pay for teachers with bachelor’s degrees.” Since this historic investment, more preschools have opened across the state, “including new sites which are affiliated with 61 community-based organizations and 21 school districts.”
Governor Whitmer Is Expanding Access to Skills Training and Higher Education
- “In the largest effort of its kind in state history,” Governor Whitmer is cutting the cost of higher education and job training with the new Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs. Across the state, these programs have already put more than 170,000 Michiganders on a tuition-free path to good paying jobs.
Governor Whitmer is pushing to boost funding for universities and community colleges by 5 percent, with an additional 5 percent boost in one-time funding.
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