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What is to be done?

Many parent advocates, like me, got into school funding advocacy thinking that what we needed to do was make reasonable arguments to reasonable people. Support for local public schools didn’t have to be a partisan issue, and people of good will could come together to support quality, community-governed, public education. And I still think that could be true.

But, right now, it’s not. Over the last ten years, the debate over public education in Michigan has gone from frustrating to absurd. Uncompromising, unyielding adherence to ideology and narrow beliefs has opened up a chasm in the public debate over our community schools. As the current presidential campaign season shows, it’s not even about strictly partisan politics: the divides inside each party seem just as big as those which separate them. Nor is it a reasoned debate over the mechanics of policy. But it is a political debate – one that touches on our core values and which will shape our schools for years to come.

And, as with any important political debate, the outcome will hinge on who is in a position to decide – who holds political office. Who do we have acting in our name? Do they reflect what we believe? So, that is where we need to begin. (more…)

Introducing Michigan Parent PAC

Michigan Parent PAC: Who we are

Who are we?

MI Parent PAC is a political action committee, committed to raising the profile of public education issues in statewide elections. We’re a group of parents and concerned citizens who realize that arguing about policy measures is not enough.

Why start this PAC?

Voters need to be paying attention to public education issues when they evaluate candidates for state office, and lawmakers need to understand that public education matters to their constituents. Our aim is to make sure that voters understand candidates’ positions on key education issues and that candidates know they’re not off the hook once they are elected. For too long, powerful moneyed interests have driven the public education policy agenda in Lansing, pressing measures which undermine and hobble community governed public schools. Under strong political pressure, lawmakers have bowed down to that agenda despite the fact that the majority of their constituents around the state support and value their community public schools.

What will MI Parent PAC do?

We want to shine a bright light on how our legislators and other state officials behave on education issues. Voters deserve to know when their elected officials are choosing to undermine their schools – or when they are fighting to preserve them. Voters also deserve to know when their lawmakers say one thing at home and do another in Lansing. We will be strategically using our resources to hold lawmakers accountable and to reward those who have done the right thing – especially when it was risky for them to do so. We will also make sure that candidates for office can’t run away from the things they have done and said in other settings. Voters deserve the whole truth.

Who are we working for?

No one! We’re a grassroots group of parents and other citizens who have been fighting for sensible public education policy for many years now. We finally decided that we could never have enough of an impact if we didn’t wade into the electoral process and try to counter some of the big money out there. We’re not affiliated with any political party, union, or business. In fact, we’re the political action arm of Michigan Parents for Schools, a statewide parent advocacy group which has been working to support strong public schools since 2006. (more…)