Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Meridian Township putting schoolchildren ahead of profits

Meridian Township has recently taken the very positive step of passing a resolution putting schoolchildren ahead of corporate profits. 

Meridian Township Clerk Brett
Dreyfus introduced the Children
ahead of Profits resolution
We have written extensively on this blog about charter schools and syphoning of public education money away from children and toward for-profit corporations.  This phenomenon also happens through the ratcheting up of the ante in high-stakes testing, and moving of our public schools into the online space.  This local movement and others like it throughout the state are evidence that Michigan citizens are rejecting these policies.  Nonetheless, our state Legislature has continued down the privatization path. 

On October 7, 2014, Meridian Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus introduced a resolution formally rejecting these failed policies at the Meridian Township Board meeting.  The resolution reads as follows:
WHEREAS, the purpose of public education is to guarantee that all students—in both traditional schools and charter schools—receive a high quality education so that each and every child has the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential in life; and
WHEREAS, tax dollars earmarked for education should be spent fairly and efficiently, and taxpayers are entitled to know how every dollar is spent; and
WHEREAS, Michigan has some of the weakest charter oversight laws in the nation, making it too easy for operators to divert public moneys into private, out-of-state pockets.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Governor and Legislature should to develop and enact an equitable, transparent and accountable system for funding public schools—both traditional schools and charter schools—that enables every school to provide a quality education to each and every child in our state.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor and Legislature should adopt meaningful reforms that address issues highlighted in the Detroit Free Press series on charter schools and their for-profit management companies, including reforms that hold those management companies to the same transparency requirements as traditional public schools and ensures dollars are invested in classrooms, not padding corporate profits.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all schools must be run with the primary goal of serving children, not making a profit off of them; there should be a moratorium on opening any more for-profit charters until state laws are changed so that the corporations can be held accountable, and a fair education funding formula establish that guarantees equal opportunity to a high quality education for all students.
The resolution passed unanimously at the board's November 6, 2014 meeting.  Meridian Township's board has several members who are strong public school advocates.
The Meridian Township Board unanimously passed the
Children ahead of Profits resolution.

Because of the way public schools are funded in Michigan, See What is "Proposal A," and how does it effect my school?, Okemos Parents for Schools, June 10, 2013, our Township Board has nothing to do with how our schools are operated or funded.  In a sense, the resolution is symbolic.  But, in another sense the resolution is another example of communities standing up and speaking out for public schools.  While examples like this may not effect much change in isolation, in aggregate they create a political environment where policy makers must address citizen concerns.

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