It’s no secret Detroit Public Schools have serious problems. In fact, they’re the worst in the country. It’s also not news the city of Detroit is in decay and has been for decades. Since moving to the metro area in the mid-80s, I’ve believed fixing education is the solution to Detroit’s problems. Now, according to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan is spiraling downward as well.
The Freep charts Michigan’s falling educational levels and prosperty. In 1970, Michigan ranked 32nd educationally and 13th in per capita income. Back then education was less important to income. It was also the height of manufacturing in Michigan. By 2007, Michigan’s education ranking dropped 3 places to 35th, but per capita income plummetted to 28th, a full 15 point drop. In fact, today the top 10 states in education are also the top 10 in per capita income. The message is clear and validates my perspective on solving Detroit’s problems.
With such clear evidence, I have to wonder why the 3 stooges in Lansing don’t seem to get it. In June 2009, the Republican-controled Michigan Senate proposed cutting Promise grants, which award up $4,000 to Michigan college students. Senate Majority so-called Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) is the first buffoon in the latest war on education. The next, State House Speaker Andy “Two-Faced” Dillon (D-Redford) agreed to the Promise cuts as part of rather one-sided deal to balance the 2010 state budget. Never mind that Dillon repeatedly said he wouldn’t agree to cutting the Promise grants. Many think Bishop and Dillon became best buds in the interests of their political ambitions.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) continues to call for restoring Promise grants. The third buffoon, she claimed she would veto budgets that came to her without funding for the Promise grants.
So the Republican-led State Senate cut Promise grants, effectively making it harder for Michigan students to get college degrees. And the Democratic-controlled State House and Governor were complicit and willing accomplices. Colleges are not the only educational institutions under attack, however. The State Senate cut per pupil funding by $165 for K-12 schools during the budget process and the House went along. Then Granholm slashed $52 million from the state’s richest districts. Another $127 per pupil cut by Granholm is on hold. That’s not a reprieve, though, and there are rumors more may be coming.
Now, I’m not a math whiz, but the way this adds up to me, Michigan’s politicians are against maintaining, let alone improving education. As a result, they want to continue to drive Michigan and its citizens to the bottom. Party affiliation has nothing to do with it. Throw them all out next election.