Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The MEA shows their colors; money trumps opportunity for students to achieve

I recently introduced a bill, HB4855, which allows high school students to forgo their last two years of high school and enroll in community college instead. They would receive up to a $3500 grant to attend. The rationale is that it can help accelerate a student's education, keep them challenged and save state a great deal of money. (Instead of the state funding a high school student at $7000+ per year, the state funds up to $3500 for that student to go to college instead.) You can read about the bill here:

The "State News" from Michigan State University did a story on it. You can read it here: http://www.statenews.com/article.phtml?pk=41315

What is interesting in the story is the candid response to the idea that came from the Michigan Education Association. You would think they would have as their first priority making sure students get a good education by ensuring that we have quality, well-compensated teachers. But the only response that was printed in the State News from Karen Schulz, MEA communications consultant was, "Schools are struggling already. Any proposal that drains funds from school districts causes a problem. Every single school district in the state is mindful that every student who leaves costs money," she said.

The fact is that, assuming the $3500 for the college grant came from the School Aid Fund, there would be a minimum of $3500 left over in the SAF, which means MORE money available for each student who is attending a public school.

The legislature and the governor will continue to fund public education. But we should give students this additional option to either concentrate on a trade or associate's degree, or jump start their bachelor's degree one or two years early. It's about giving our kids an opportunity to achieve, isn't that the American way?

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