Official Ballot Language:
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION TO PERMIT STATE TO PROVIDE INDIRECT SUPPORT TO STUDENTS ATTENDING NONPUBLIC PRE-ELEMENTARY, ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS; ALLOW THE USE OF TUITION VOUCHERS IN CERTAIN SCHOOL DISTRICTS; AND REQUIRE ENACTMENT OF TEACHER TESTING LAWS
The proposed constitutional amendment would:
- Eliminate ban on indirect support of students attending nonpublic schools through tuition vouchers, credits, tax benefits, exemptions or deductions, subsidies, grants or loans of public monies or property.
- Allow students to use tuition vouchers to attend nonpublic schools in districts with a graduation rate under 2/3 in 1998-1999 and districts approving tuition vouchers through school board action or a public vote. Each voucher would be limited to ½ of state average per-pupil public school revenue.
- Require teacher testing on academic subjects in public schools and in nonpublic schools redeeming tuition vouchers.
- Adjust minimum per-pupil funding from 1994-1995 to 2000-2001 level.
Fricto's Unofficial Bit:
Overall, this is one proposal that has been misrepresented again and again in the press and negative advertising. This bill will only take money away from schools that have shown a trend of abysmal performance, and then only at the discretion of the parents of the children that are not being given the same opportunity as the rest of the state's kids. I believe there are only seven such districts right now.
Isn't it about time we stop throwing our money down holes . . . I was educated at a private pre-elementary and elementary school and it gave me a real edge when I hit the public high school with all the products of our local public education system (which is NOT one of those qualifying for vouchers). And my parents did it while paying taxes that were distributed to the kids at the public schools, so they had to foot the bill twice, so to speak. This is something my middle class family in suburbia can afford to do for it's children, but is not something underprivileged kids in Detroit or Benton Harbor should even be asked to consider.
The only hitch in my mind is this movement for teacher testing within their subjects. I know a lot of teachers at just about any grade level that are experts on their subject, but simply can't teach for one reason or another.
Until education is our chief goal as a people, we will continue to lose touch with our future. This is a small step in the right direction. Don't fall for impassioned ads with false data (yes, a couple of those ads are just plain wrong about what districts will be affected and how much money is involved) - be responsible, and do something your children, and your neighbor's children, can really thank you for later. It's okay if you want casino boats in Detroit, Michigan, but let's stop gambling with out children's futures.
Michigan Voters - Michigan State Ballot Proposal 2 (November 2000)