The forum, hosted by state Rep. Kristy Pagan, D-Canton, featured a quartet of panelists and covered issues ranging from student achievement and public school funding to charter schools and a shortage of teachers.
“Michigan is experiencing a systematic decline across the K-12 system,” Pagan said. “I find these reports extremely disturbing. … I am confident we can find solutions and find common ground to move our students forward.”
The forum featured four panelists, including three local experts, discussing education issues:
- Former state Sen. Gilda Jacobs, president/CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.
- Monica Merritt, superintendent of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.
- Adrienne Quinn, the student support coordinator at Field Elementary School in the Plymouth-Canton district.
- Heather Colombo, president of the Plymouth-Canton Education Association.
Among the issues they discussed:
- School funding — Pagan pointed out that an independent study commissioned by the state Legislature found Michigan’s school finance system “inequitable when it comes to allocating resources across districts” and suggesting the state comes up about $1,200 per student short, on average.
Jacobs, who was a special education teacher in a previous career, noted that a similar study by the School Finance Research Collaborative, made similar findings.
“It’s a matter of economics,” Jacobs said. “If Michigan is going to be the rebound state, it starts with kids and education. If we are not giving kids what they need. … We have a funding formula that isn’t always enough.” – USA Today: Hometown Life