State Study Finds School Funding Inequitable

A long-awaited study on the adequacy of school funding in Michigan has been released, highlighting the need for more equitable funding in Michigan.

The study reinforces findings of a 2015 report on school funding by The Education Trust. Despite having higher levels of funding than most states, Michigan has some of the largest funding gaps between our highest- and lowest-poverty districts.

The new school funding adequacy study, funded in the fiscal year 2015-2016 school aid budget, looked at both overall funding needs of Michigan schools and differences in funding between schools serving large rates of students from low-income families and districts serving higher income populations.

While Michigan is in the top half of states for total per pupil funding (including all state and federal funds), we are in the bottom ten states for many key indicators, such as fourth-grade reading. Although more total funding and more equitable funding is certainly needed, Michigan’s relatively high funding levels and exceptionally poor academic performance show that money alone will not solve our educational crisis.

That’s why Michigan Achieves – a new initiative to make Michigan a top ten education state – proposes a comprehensive improvement agenda, including both holistic strategies to boost student achievement and high-leverage strategic investments.

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Governor Signs Schools Budget

Governor Snyder has signed a $16 billion school aid budget for fiscal year 2016-2017. The budget maintains Michigan’s high-quality assessment, the M-STEP, for a third year; invests nearly $25 million in addition funds to boost early literacy efforts; and increases per pupil spending by $60-$120.

The budget also includes a controversial $2.5 million to reimburse private schools for costs related to compliance with state requirements. This funding is concerning to many organizations, including The Education Trust-Midwest, as the Michigan Constitution prohibits direct or indirect “payment, credit, tax benefit, exemption or deductions, tuition voucher, subsidy, grant or loan of public monies” to non-public schools.

U.S. Supreme Court: Equity in Access Matters!

The U.S. Supreme Court has advanced educational equity and opportunity, in upholding the admissions process at the University of Texas at Austin – a process which includes a consideration of race. The decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin marks an important win for campus leaders committed to educating increasingly diverse populations.

“As a nation we still have a long way to go, both in higher education and in K-12, to ensure that our public institutions function not as wheels of privilege but as true engines of equity,” said Jose Luis Santos, Ph.D. of The Education Trust. “All of our young people should have access to the high-quality education they so richly need — and deserve.”


Click here for full Michigan Education Update.