Former U.S. Secretary of Education: “Governor Whitmer is so controlled by big union bosses she can’t see around the corner to do what’s right for kids”

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s indefensible veto last week, slashing $155 million in bipartisan reading scholarships for K-5 students who fell behind during the pandemic, drew fresh criticism today from student advocates, including former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
“It is indefensible that @GovWhitmer killed a program to help kids improve their reading skills. 2/3rds of MI kids aren’t proficient, and that was before Whitmer’s school lockdowns… just more proof she only cares about politics,” DeVos tweeted today.
Whitmer slashed the funding for Michigan students on July 13. Earlier this summer Republican and Democratic lawmakers stood together to create $1,000 scholarships to fund tutoring services, instruction materials, or specialized summer learning for elementary school students who scored less than proficient on the reading portion of the state’s standardized tests. According to the latest testing data, 2 out of 3 Michigan 4th graders cannot read at grade level. The scholarships were approved with nearly unanimous votes in the state House and Senate.
The former Secretary of Education appeared earlier this morning on WJR’s Paul W. Smith Show to demand better for Michigan learners. Smith also blasted Whitmer’s move to slash funding from struggling kids.
Said Paul W. Smith: “(Governor Whitmer) has opposed and vetoed what school administrators had opposed. $155 million going directly to help kids read, which is fundamental. If you can’t read, you cannot advance in our society, period. And yet, this $155 million is said to be better spent elsewhere. Tell me what’s better than helping kids learn how to read who haven’t been taught in the public schools how to read, which should be an embarrassment for all, and this just underscores this embarrassment. I can’t believe how stupid these people are.”
Governor Whitmer’s education cuts followed a year in which she locked students out of their classrooms, creating massive learning gaps across the state. Families are left to pick up the pieces while the Governor wins accolades from public school bureaucrats and union bosses at the Michigan Education Association who claim they were “pleased” Whitmer cut funding for reading programs.
“Governor Whitmer’s anti-science school closures created massive learning gaps, and her answer to billions in new federal aid is to slash $155 million in reading scholarships for struggling kids,” said Tori Sachs, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund. “Whitmer’s school cuts might make union bosses happy, but they hurt Michigan’s kids. Of course, Michigan parents who’ve fought and scrapped to help their kids during the pandemic know that’s nothing new for this governor.”

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