LANSING — Last Friday, State Senator Dayna Polehanki, Michigan Board of Education candidate Mitchell Robinson, local educator Dee Pearl, and parent of a public school student Victoria Haynesworth gathered in Detroit at the final stop of MDP’s back to school press tour to call out Tudor Dixon for her dangerous education agenda.
Speakers laid out a stark contrast between the Dixon-DeVos education plan to gut funding for public schools with Governor Gretchen Whitmer who is making historic investments in public education and ensuring every student has the resources they need in the classroom. They ended the conference by giving Dixon an F for her wrong-for-Michigan plan.
Here’s what these community leaders had to say about Tudor Dixon’s dangerous, out-of-touch education plan:
State Senator Dayna Polehanki:
- “Before I was a State Senator, I was a proud public school teacher — I taught high school English in Macomb County for almost 20 years. To put it simply: I can walk the talk when it comes to education policy in Michigan, and the value of an accessible public education isn’t lost on me…That’s why I’m standing here today to rally against the Tudor Dixon voucher scheme that after five years would blow a billion dollar hole (yes, that’s a billion with a “b”) in the budget—unfairly benefitting expensive private and religious schools over public schools.”
- “While Tudor Dixon has partnered with anti-public school crusaders Betsy Devos, whose life’s mission is to use YOUR taxpayer dollars to benefit private and religious schools—Governor Whitmer stands with us. Thanks to Governor Whitmer’s record investments, we’re transforming student education through additional reading coaches to ensure literacy; nearly $10K in funding for every student, in every district; expanding free tutoring options; and supporting mental health programs across the state—these investments are game changers.”
- “According to Tudor Dixon, families in this area should just be able to go out back to their money tree and pick off thousands of dollars a year to send their kids to private schools. Well, I don’t think that’s right…As a teacher, I didn’t give a lot of F’s, I gave some. But I’m here to tell you Tudor Dixon deserves an F for education in Michigan. It doesn’t get much worse.”
Mitchell Robinson, state board of education candidate:
- “I did a deep dive, I used all of my university resources, and I could not find any of Tudor’s education policy ideas. What I think she does have, are a set of grievances about imaginary issues like book banning in schools libraries, drag queens, and other things that are not happening in our schools. I’m not surprised by that because Mrs. Dixon is fully financed by Betsy DeVos who, like Mrs. Dixon, has never set foot in a public school in Michigan.”
- “Tudor Dixon, because of Betsy Devos’ funding, wants to implement school vouchers in our state. School vouchers that have been voted down by the public twice by humiliating margins. This time, they’re trying a little dipsy doodle where they’re going to call them tax credit scholarships or freedom opportunity grants. Let me just tell you this: if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck and this is a voucher and it’s not going to help schools in Michigan.”
- “I think we have two important firewalls in this state. One is Governor Whitmer who has held a lot of dangerous legislation from the other side of the aisle away from us because of her veto pen, but if you look further down the ballot in November you’ll see other important firewalls: the state board of education, university boards, and your local school board.”
Dee Pearl, educator:
- “I met Governor Gretchen Whitmer four years ago, when she was a senator running for office. I met her on Seven Mile and Livernois and she was campaigning at the time. She asked me what I think her priority should be if she ran and she won, and without a doubt I said education…Four years later, I look and see what our then Senator, now governor, has done over her tenure and before I came to speak, I did some research. What I found out is in the last four years straight, she has made the largest investment in K-12 education without raising taxes. Governor Whitmer has closed the school gap of funding, she has closed the school gap!”
Victoria Haynesworth, parent:
- “The word on the street is, parents need to make better choices, but we have always had choice. It has never been about better choices, it has been about funding. We need to make sure our students have access to the resources—mental health programs, counseling, supportive services right in our neighborhoods—and we know that’s what Governor Whitmer is and has been standing for.”