Gov. Snyder: Your Child Can Be Educated For $6K Per Year, But $20K Per Year Not Enough To Educate My Kid
The mainsteam media have finally picked up on the fact that Rick and Sue Snyder’s child attends a private school in Ann Arbor, Michigan called Greenhills School. The timing of the light bulb moment was almost too perfect. Shortly after Republican Rick Snyder and his Republican colleagues in the State legislature slashed education funding in Michigan by $370 per student, bringing state funding to $6,846 per student, Greenhills decided to launch a fundraising drive. According to a piece by Todd Heywood in the June 17, 2011 edition of the Michigan Messenger:
As the debate over deep cuts to the state’s per pupil allowance in education funding continues, Greenhills School in Ann Arbor has released a fundraising video in which school officials say the $20,000 per year tuition per student is not enough to keep the school running.
The video features students and faculty from the school, where Gov. Rick Snyder sends his daughter, reading from a script and saying that money raised from an annual auction was necessary to keep the school going. One student, who is not identified, says, “Tuition alone does not cover the costs of a Greenhills education.”
The video asks viewers to consider a donation of “$10,000, $500 or $50″ to help the school defray the school’s operational costs.
The Messenger then asked an official from the Michigan Education Association what $20,000 per pupil would mean to public school students in our state. Doug Pratt, the MEA’s spokesman, answers almost gleefully: “That level of funding would allow for small class sizes, advanced and well-rounded course offerings, sufficient textbooks/supplies/technology, top-notch teacher training, student support services and more -– all things that are essential to providing a world class education. $20,000 per student is a lot closer to what we should be spending on public education than where we are today.”
Snyder Communications Director Geralyn Lasher responded to questions about how public schools are supposed to make ends meet on the per pupil amounts recently approved by the legislature, when the school the Snyders’ daughter attends can’t make it on $20,000 per pupil:
“The Snyders have nothing to do with the organization of this fund drive and are not involved in the planning or delivery of the campaign. Any questions about the school or their efforts should be directed to Greenhills.
As for per-pupil funding, the Governor has stated time and again that cuts to education were very difficult to make and he was pleased to reduce the cut to K-12 to effectively less than $100 per pupil….”
The cuts were “very difficult to make.” They will be more difficult for the state’s teachers, students and parents to deal with, obviously. Detroit Public Schools are looking at class sizes as large as 60 students. To date, the Michigan Education Association has refused to openly support the movement to recall Governor Rick Snyder, despite his administration’s attacks on education and most recently, teacher tenure. When asked if the MEA had plans to support the recall effort, Doug Pratt responded by email, “MEA has not taken a position on the Snyder recall effort. We do know that many of our members are involved in that effort, but we are not encouraging them to do so.”
However, on May 25, 2011 A2Politico reported the launch of attack ads paid for by the MEA that targeted Republican lawmakers who voted to cut education funding. Republican Mark Ouimet, who represents the 52nd District in the state House, is among those legislators being targeted by the MEA ads.
Representative Ouimet commented on the MEA’s ad buys via email. He wrote, “I’m hearing from many families in our district that their number one priority is jobs – and their second priority is fiscal responsibility. I was sent to Lansing to make the tough decisions, and I said throughout the campaign that we needed to eliminate Michigan’s job-killing business tax, which we’ve done, and to put the state’s fiscal house in order so that we are on stronger footing going forward.”
Putting the state’s educational fiscal house in order for your kids, means cutting per pupil funding. Putting the educational fiscal house in order where the Snyder’s child goes to school, means increasing per pupil funding above and beyond the $20,000 per pupil the school already allocates.
Snyder Communications Director Geralyn Lasher explained the logic behind the per pupil cuts to the Michigan Messenger this way, ”When only 16% of high school students who graduate are ‘college-ready’ as a state we have to look at the entire education system and not just funding in order to change that figure to 100% of high school graduates who are college-ready and career-ready.”
Rick and Sue Snyder sent their kid to Greenhills because the class sizes are small and the curriculum rigorous. They want their child to have the best education possible, and are willing and able to pay $20,000 per year toward making sure their daughter is college and career ready. To the rest of us who send our kids to Michigan’s public schools, Snyder’s administration claims that less money per pupil will help boost the percentage of Michigan’s high school graduates are college and career ready, and create jobs. Sure it will. Oh, and Snyder has a new bridge project between Detroit and Windsor to sell you, too.
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