FACT CHECK: What The New MIGOP Ad Gets Wrong About the Work Governor Whitmer Has Put in To Improve Public Education and Keep Michigan Students, Parents, and Educators First

Today, MIGOP launched yet another bogus attack ad against Governor Whitmer, this time in the hopes it will distract Michiganders from their dangerous agenda to decimate public education and increase inequality between students based on which school district they live in. More than $3 million has been spent leveling false attacks on Whitmer’s leadership since the start of the 2022 cycle. 

The 30-second spot is rife with blatant inaccuracies and hyperpartisan attacks. Here’s the truth:

Governor Whitmer Has Repeatedly Affirmed Parents’ Right to be Involved in Their Student’s Education

As a member of the legislature and parent of children that went to public schools, Governor Whitmer voted multiple times in favor of legislation aimed at implementing systems for public schools and school districts to implement plans “designed to increase parental involvement in schools and instructional programs.

Governor Whitmer Worked with Republicans to Get Kids Safely Back to School and Urged School Districts to Return to In-Person Learning

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Whitmer has prioritized safe, in-person learning for school-aged children. To facilitate a smooth transition back to the classroom, Whitmer called on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in January to “send 300,000 COVID-19 tests to schools…to combat the spread of the omicron variant.” And this month, she signed a bipartisan supplemental funding bill that included $150 million for testing in schools, “deliver[ing] on Democrats’ and Republicans’ shared goals of keeping students learning in school.” These investments came on top of the $580 million previously authorized by Whitmer in 2020 to “increase safety when students do return to classes and provide hazard pay to teachers.”

Additionally, Whitmer used her most recent State of the State to reaffirm her “crystal clear” belief that students “belong in schools” because remote learning is “not as fulfilling or conducive to a child’s growth.” Earlier this month, Flint and Detroit, the last two major remote districts in Michigan, fully returned to in-person learning.

Governor Whitmer Has Made Historic Investments in Public Education, Closing Funding Gaps Between School Districts Across Michigan

Governor Whitmer has proposed a multibillion dollar investment in public education that includes a significant increase in the per-student grant each individual school districts receive along with pay raises for educators and school personnel.

And last year, she secured a bipartisan $17.1 billion dollar public education budget that completely closed a decades-long state funding gap between school districts, and made the “largest investment in PreK-12 schools in state history” — all without raising taxes.

To ensure those inequality gaps don’t once again broaden, Whitmer recently vetoed “the latest effort by legislative Republicans to create a school voucher system in Michigan” that could have reduced state investment in education by upwards of $500 million annually. She also vetoed a  $155 million voucher program last July.

Every Gubernatorial Republican Supports a DeVos-Style School Voucher Agenda Meant to Throw Education Into a Death Spiral and Ignore the Massive Consequences

In their ad, MIGOP failed to point out the disastrous impacts that their agenda would impose on Michigan students, parents, and educators. It also failed to highlight the fact that none of their gubernatorial candidates have a plan to address what happens after they gut public education DeVos style.

James Craig has expressed his “absolute” commitment to ripping public education – a crucial institution for 1.5 million Michigan students – to the studs while simultaneously “lack[ing] specific policy” solutions. Late last year, he advocated for cutting funding for underperforming public schools, saying that the public education death spiral that would come from altering Michigan’s constitution to funnel taxpayer resources to private schools would somehow spur school districts to improve, arguing that when “you incentivize progress, magical things begin to happen.”

Kevin Rinke was critical of Governor Whitmer’s previously mentioned October school voucher veto, implying that he would have signed it into law instead. Additionally, he advocated for transforming Michigan’s public education into a voucher system, lacking detail on how such an initiative would operate and be funded.

Like Rinke, Tudor Dixon also showed her support for stripping critical funding from public schools and announced that repealing Michigan’s constitutional ban on using public money for private education was a top priority for her campaign. 

Perry Johnson used his campaign kickoff speech to argue that Michigan should remove “all barriers” to implementing a charter school system. 

And Ryan Kelley has pledged to “happily and enthusiastically as governor, sign an executive order that eliminates the Department of Education” – another unconstitutional proposal.

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