April 22, 2013 Bookmark and Share

Greimel: Secret Education Reform Project Seeks to Skunk Public Schools

Governor's group circumvents public will, advocates for voucher system

LANSING — House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) denounced a governor’s group today that has worked in secrecy to undermine public education in Michigan. The so-called “skunk works” group, comprised of charter school proponents, school voucher supporters and corporate executives — but no teachers or school administrators — is reportedly working on recommendations to siphon money away from public schools by creating a voucher system and “value schools” that are staffed by computer programs rather than certified teachers.

“There are no shortcuts when it comes to quality education,” Greimel said. “You can’t sit kids in front of a computer screen and expect they’ll get the same amount of personal attention and help as they would get from a teacher. It’s time to stop thinking of public schools as an expense, when in reality, they are the best investment we can make in our future.”

The governor’s group has met in secrecy since December, but their activities came to light late last week in a Detroit News article. By meeting behind closed doors, the group has evaded any measure of transparency and accountability while drafting recommendations to dismantle Michigan’s public schools and replace it with a voucher-like system, even though voters have turned down voucher proposals twice at the polls.

“If the governor’s ideas are good, then they’re good enough to be discussed openly and publicly. Shrouding education reform in secrecy and excluding parents and teachers from the ‘skunk works’ group stinks,” Greimel said. “The governor and his panel don’t see our kids as an investment, but rather as an expense to be cut by any means necessary. They know the people of Michigan won’t stand for that. We demand more for our kids.”

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