MANS’ Response to Governor Snyder’s Education Message

(Lansing) – Speaking on behalf of nearly 100,000 students enrolled in over 500 schools across the state, Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools Executive Director Brian Broderick released the following statement commenting on Governor Rick Snyder’s special message on education delivered earlier today:

“Governor Snyder is to be commended for making education reform a centerpiece of his governing agenda.  A focus on developing solutions to our state’s challenges in K-12 education reflects the extreme importance that education has on the future success of the state. Unfortunately, thousands of Michigan families do not have access to this state’s high quality non-public schools due to the Michigan Constitution’s onerous and discriminatory language banning direct and indirect aid to non-public schools found in Article VIII, Section 2.

“Accountability, measuring for success and classroom flexibility are key elements that will make Michigan’s education system a leader in the nation.  These are all factors that are already part of the ‘dashboard’ for Michigan’s high performing non-public schools – schools that currently save the state approximately $700 million annually by performing the very ‘public’ function of educating Michigan’s youth.  Regrettably, in Michigan your zip code plays too large a role in the quality of a child’s education.

“Unless Governor Snyder addresses this inequity, he is really tinkering at the edges of meaningful reform.  To date, the focus of this legislature and the administration has been on adult-centric issues and not what is best for children and parents.  Teacher tenure, limiting step increases, and contributions to health insurance premiums may all be well and good and could possibly bring more money and better instruction to classrooms in the future, but they do not immediately help that fourth grader mired in a school district that by any analysis is failing to educate him or her.

“What is needed with these reforms is a recognition and support for what faith-based and other non-public schools are doing and will continue to do in the future.  Whether it be:

- Expansion of curricular offerings through an expanded shared time, 
- Streamlining the ability for all Michigan youth to access dual enrollment, or
- Creating a funding mechanism that recognizes the very public function that non-public schools serve by:

1. Providing reimbursement to non-public schools for state mandate compliance for which there is currently no funding; AND

2. Supporting removal of the overly restrictive language contained in Article VIII Section 2 of the Michigan Constitution thereby allowing Michigan parents true choice in selecting the educational provider that best meet the needs of their children.” 

MANS is an association of Michigan Catholic Schools, Michigan District Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod Schools, Michigan Region of Christian Schools International and Association of Christian Schools International in Michigan.

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