When teachers push back against Republican school “reforms,” Republicans like to say “this isn’t about the adults.” Yet all the Republican “reforms” seem to be targeted at teachers (the adults) rather than at the students (the kids). Taking away a teacher’s job security, by essentially eliminating seniority and weakening tenure, isn’t about the kids. Trying to take away a teacher’s pension isn’t about the kids. Making teachers pay more for their health insurance isn’t about the kids. Belittling teachers by comparing them to screaming kids who haven’t earned their allowance isn’t about the kids. Weakening an honorable profession will in no way help the kids.
Luckily, Democrats have a plan that is about the kids. Senate Majority Leader Gretchen Whitmer is offering students motivation to succeed in school. Whitmer’s Michigan 2020 plan would send every Michigan kid to college using tax money from closed business loopholes. Should it be passed into law, this plan would revolutionize education in Michigan. Two things separate the Democrat’s plan from the Republican’s plan. First, it really is about the kids. Second, the plan follows a proven model. Finland has one of the best, if not the best, public education systems in the world. Part of the reason for their success is that they offer college for free. In America, too many students know early on they won’t have the resources they need to attend college, and therefore many of the scholastic challenges they face don’t seem worth the effort. The Michigan 2020 plan could change that mindset, and that could lead to huge improvements in school performance. A scholastic magazine article lists another reason that Finland’s system is so good. In their culture teachers are given the same respect as doctors. We already know Republicans are against respect for teachers, it would be a good bet that they will also be against closing tax loopholes in order to send kids to college. In fact, I have yet to see any Republican policy that puts kids ahead of adults. The reasons are clear. Kids don’t vote, kids don’t contribute to campaigns, and most importantly, kids aren’t wealthy business owners.
(Note: Almost all Finland’s teachers are unionized in case you wondered).