Mike Addonizio, professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of Education, quoted in Detroit Free Press, "Civil rights report lays out ways Michigan schools can level playing field"

Detroit Free Press, 9/30

Civil rights report lays out ways Michigan schools can level playing field

By John Wisely

Michigan schools need more money and less competition to better provide adequate education to all children, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Michigan Commission on Civil Rights. The report calls for changes to the way Michigan funds its K-12 education system, including a weighted funding formula that provides more money to schools with large numbers of students who live in poverty, have special needs or are learning to speak English for the first time. The report isn't binding, but it will be forwarded to policymakers in Lansing and elsewhere with a series of recommendations to make education in Michigan more equitable. Some of the proposals have been suggested before and others are sure to be controversial, including changes to Proposal A, an amendment to the state Constitution that lowered property taxes for schools in exchange for increasing the state sales tax. The proposal helped reduce the funding gap between Michigan's wealthiest schools and its poorest schools, but over time, it slowed the growth of Michigan school funding. "Michigan ranks a dismal 49th among the states in real per-pupil funding growth from 2005 to 2014, with an actual 7% reduction over that period," according to Michael Addonizio of Wayne State University, who testified at one of the meetings. Addonizio noted that in the 1980s, Michigan and Massachusetts funded education at nearly equal levels. Today, Massachusetts spends about 30% more funding than Michigan does. “Year after year, Massachusetts is at or near the top in all testing categories for fourth grade and eighth grade reading and math, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress,” Addonizio said.



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