Statement from The Education Trust-Midwest on School Aid Fund Revenue Estimate
ROYAL OAK, Mich. (Aug. 24, 2020) ― The following statement may be attributed to Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest.
“State budget projections today reinforced what our leaders expected: that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused Michigan’s main sources of school funding to plunge.
“While the declining revenue will necessitate hard fiscal decisions, one thing is certain: we cannot let the academic success and opportunity to learn of all of Michigan’s children to similarly plunge. We are calling on Congress and Michigan legislators to invest in the future of our children by prioritizing and protecting education funding, first and foremost. At the federal level, this includes the swift passage of a federal stimulus package to fully support state education budgets. At the state level, it includes state policymakers using general state budget funds to further support public education at this critical time of need for public schools.
“Even before the widespread economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan was among America’s most inequitable and unfair states for school funding. This has contributed to devastating opportunity and achievement gaps for our state’s most vulnerable children.
“We cannot afford to continue down this troubling path.
If cuts to the education budget cannot be avoided, Michigan legislators should shield our most vulnerable students and under-resourced districts from the worst of budget cuts, especially low-income children, English learners and students with disabilities. Those children have already been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
“Appropriate funding alone is not enough. Meeting the learning needs of every student can only be done by effective, well-supported classroom educators and the implementation of best-practices. Greater transparency for how dollars are spent and accountability to ensure that funds earmarked for vulnerable students reach their classrooms are critical for informing future decision-making at the school, district and state level.
“The time is now to ensure all Michigan’s students have an opportunity to succeed.”
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The Education Trust-Midwest is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization dedicated to improving outcomes for all Michigan students, especially for African American, Latino, American Indian, and low-income students. The Education Trust-Midwest believes in the power of intelligent education policy and practices — informed by data, research, and the successes of other states — to make Michigan a top ten education state for all students.