Whitmer Says Details of Governor's Secretive School Workgroup Raise Serious Questions
Lansing – Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer said today that a news report that uncovered secret backroom dealings of Governor Snyder's administration to design a “value school” voucher system that would allow corporate interests to make millions of dollars off of Michigan's public education system has raised serious questions about the true motives behind other major policy initiatives pushed during the Governor's term in office.
“The Governor's true agenda has finally been exposed and it unsurprisingly is built on backroom deals and boardroom profits,” said Whitmer. “The information uncovered from these secretive meetings has confirmed what we've feared all along, that this Governor's focus is not on what's best for Michigan's people or our kids, but instead on helping out-of-state special interests profit off of them.”
The Detroit News published secret communications today between senior officials within the Governor's administration and outside business interests discussing how to design a so-called “skunk works” restructuring plan for public education that would hand over $7,000 per pupil to private corporations to run “value schools” while only requiring them to spend $5,000 of that on our children's education, giving them a 30% profit margin at the expense of Michigan's taxpayers and our students.
Whitmer stated that the clear purpose of the plan was not to better our schools for Michigan students, but simply to allow corporate partners to skim taxpayer money off the top without any regard for the quality of education our kids receive.
“It's shocking that the Governor's senior advisors would so brazenly engage in discussions about how to give their corporate allies the opportunity to skim millions of dollars out of our classrooms just so they can further line their own pockets. It's absolutely disgraceful,” added Whitmer. “Given what we now know about the motivations behind the Governor's supposed school reforms, there are serious questions he will need to answer before the people of Michigan can possibly trust his motivations on transportation, insurance reform and a host of others issues we know are ripe for profit from outside interests as well.”
The information made public today was part of an effort announced by Governor Snyder last year to have the Oxford Foundation design a plan supposedly focused on improving public education in Michigan, a plan that was widely panned as little more than a voucher system when a draft report was released last year.