Friday, November 9, 2012

School districts - good or bad for students?

The Oxford Foundation has been charged by Governor Snyder to examine school funding inn Michigan. They present an interesting point of view in a piece entitled "Who is entitled to a free public education." This paper lays the foundation for the Oxford Foundation, and possibly Governor Snyder, to argue that the Michigan Constitutional requirement that the "legislature shall maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools as defined by law" means that a student should be able to attend any school anywhere in the state. 

Read this paper. It presents a fascinating glimpse into what may be proposed for school funding in the very near future.

However, while I am certainly not a constitutional expert, the Michigan Constitution also says "Every school district shall provide for the education of its pupils."

While the Oxford Foundation can make its case that the Michigan Constitution does state that a system of "free public elementary and secondary schools" should be created and supported, it appears to me that the state has for many years abdicated this responsibility to school districts. As a result school districts have provided the leadership and the stability for providing this system.

What has resulted is a system of widely disparate school funding. The state has allowed this difference in funding for many years without concern.

Why would the state now begin to suggest that school districts are almost obsolete? Is it because they have suddenly developed a deep concern for students? Or is it because they have a political agenda to send public funds to private schools and educational entrepreneurs?

I would urge anyone interested in educational funding in Michigan to read information from the Oxford Foundation. I would also urge people to talk to their state legislators about school funding.

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