Teachers unions held early morning rallies today at schools across Michigan.
Teachers and others took part in so-called ‘walk-in’ events in Detroit, Kalamazoo and Flint. Similar rallies took place in more than 70 cities nationwide.
Before sunrise, a steady line of buses dropped students off at Flint’s Northwestern High School. As students stepped off buses, they were greeted by people carrying signs calling for more public money for traditional public schools.
“Let’s make sure we don’t siphon dollars for privatization. Let’s keep public schools public,” said Secky Fascione, with the National Education Association.
Fascione blamed state lawmakers favoring charter and private schools for hurting Michigan’s public schools.
School choice has been an option in Michigan for more than two decades. After the 1994 adoption of Proposal A, which radically altered school finance in the state, students were able to switch to any district that opted to open their doors. Today, over 300,000 students, more than 20% of all taxpayer-supported K-12 students in the state, are educated in either charter schools or a traditional public school district other than the one in which they live.
The 'walk-in' rally organizers are encouraging voters to elect state lawmakers next month who will support more funding for traditional public schools.
A poll released last month by the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy claims 55% of likely Michigan voters favor the current charter school system.