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MICHELE OBERHOLTZER

Education Policy Plan

Knowledge is the Seed for the Fruit of Life

Public education is under attack in Michigan. The State has put landlords in our education system by destroying public schools and providing fertile ground for for-profit charter schools.

Underfunding, school-closures, outrageously expensive college education and failure to care about our low-income, ESL, and high-need classrooms have led to a vicious cycle of underperformance that is used as fuel for further cuts.

The future of Michigan depends on how we reform our education system. Our children deserve better than the unequal system our state uses right now. 

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD/ PRE-K

We must have universal Pre-K for our young children. This is crucial to level the playing field for children born into families of all income levels and races.

 

K-12 PUBLIC EDUCATION

1. We Need to Fix the Funding in our Public Schools:

  • Increase funding to $9,000+ per pupil. Enforce laws that prevent funding higher-income districts more than lower-income districts. This only makes the cycle of inequality worse. 
  • Prohibit for-profit charter schools from receiving any public funding, and pre-empt loopholes whereby non-profits are shells for for-profit institutions.
  • We have to REJECT Betsy Devos’s policies, and stop letting companies profit off of our children getting low-quality education. That is a gamble we simply cannot afford here.
  • Couple state budget line-items so that it is impossible to spend more on incarceration than on public education
  • Target State Lottery funding to underperforming school areas and areas co-located with lottery purchases.

 

2. We Need to Make our Public Schools Models for Justice:

  • End the school-to-prison pipeline. Implement programs to prevent at-risk youth from getting involved in criminal activity.
  • Implement discrimination audits to test for racial bias that violates Brown V. Board of Education in public schools.
  • Prevent attempts to arm educators, and maintain safety standards in schools. Every school district needs to prepare a plan for an active shooter scenario.
  • Give schools the tools to tend to the physical and mental health of students, and take an active path of restorative justice, rather than punitive justice, in educating students.

 

3. We Need to Prioritize Standards of High-Quality Education:

  • Maintain Common Core standards, but reduce other forms of standardized testing.
  • Invest in and value our teachers. Teaching needs to be recognized as the respectable and crucially important position that it is, and we need to pay our teachers accordingly.
  • Open channels for input from teachers and administrators in underperforming schools.
  • Increase standards and oversight for online schools.
  • Literacy is mandatory. But, when schools cannot provide the resources to teach children universally necessary skills, those schools need to be funded and nourished, not decimated. We do our children a huge disservice by making instability such a mainstay of schools in Detroit. 

POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION

  • We need to provide tuition-free, debt-free public college education for students whose families earn less than $150,000/year.
  • We need to provide grant funding for all students to receive free and/or forgivable college tuition based on attendance, performance, and work contributions.
  • We need to fund pathways for trade schools and college education with public service reciprocity such as work-for-tuition public works projects.
  • We need to create compensation caps on the salaries of staff and faculty at publicly funded post-secondary education so that administrators’ compensation CANNOT EXCEED 20 x the base rate of the lowest paid employees.
  • We need to protect our labor unions at secondary education institutions, often fighting against administrators who are paid exorbitant amounts of money.