Public Schools and State Spending

On Sunday, January 29, 2017, The Detroit Free Press ran a long article about public schools written by Nancy Kaffer. I agree with almost all of the points she makes. It’s well worth reading the whole thing, and studying the map of schools which the State Reform Office has said should, according to their performance standard, be closed. Here are a few pithy excerpts from the article:

“… the state’s failure to make the city’s schools right — yeah, this one is on the state, which created the charter system and has run Detroit’s public schools for most of this century — is the biggest stumbling block in Detroit’s still-tenuous recovery …”

and Continue reading

Single Payer Health Care Will Raise Taxes – I Call Bullshizzle

One of the CONSTANT droning mantras of Big Pharma, Big Medicine et al is that we cannot afford to offer health insurance to everyone in the country because it will raise taxes through the roof and we will all suffer a huge economic battering.

First, let me remind you that EVERY SINGLE DEVELOPED NATION on this planet has some form of nationalized health care for its citizens. (Please read that sentence 2 or 3 times.) Secondly, let me remind you that the United States of American is THE ONLY DEVELOPED NATION on the planet wherein its citizens face bankruptcy from medical costs. (Repeat as needed.)

 

The lobbyists make sure that there is enough “It Will Raise Taxes” white noise generated to blanket the truth of the matter. Some studies indicate that putting single payer, universal health care in place in the US would SAVE money – one I read suggested a savings of 1.1 trillion over 10 years. Critics of Bernie Sander’s plan to expand Medicare for EVERYONE hollered very, very loud about a resultant tax increase.

You know what I say to that for Julie and I – BRING IT ON! I will gladly take the projected tax increase. You know why? Because it would save us a TON of money. Raise my taxes PLEASE – especially if it means we can eliminate our insurance premiums. Julie and I would end up with a bunch more money to invest or spend on our Grandkids if only such a nefarious plan was carried out. Before I show you the numbers, look at the rising price of insurance premiums, please.

ins-premiums

One important thing to look at besides the rocketing upward spiral of the premium cost is that it bears NO relationship to inflation and ignores wages to boot.

Anyway, Julie and I pay $973 a month for health care. That totals $11,676 a year. We are both 58 years old. Our plan is not a Golden Cadillac plan – no frills, lots of out of pocket expenses and co-pays. In fact, there is a $2,800 deductible FOR EACH OF US to meet. That means that if we both got sick in one year our out of pocket expenses would be a minimum of $17,296.00. Please read that paragraph again. We pay almost $12k a year for protection that really only kicks in after ANOTHER $5,600 is spent if we both have something happen. (Hmm, maybe that is why I am still paying $43 a month with a $1827 balance for my treatment in 2013…..)

Critics of the Sanders Medicare for All plan claimed it would cost us an additional $1,100 in taxes. They also said it would cost employers $3,350 more. Julie and I are self-employed so in the interest of fair play, I am willing to assume BOTH of those numbers are true – we would pay $4,450 MORE in taxes. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make this happen!

If that started in January, then next year Julie and I would have a MINIMUM of $7,226 dollars with which we could do anything we wanted. If it happened in a year when both of us got sick in some way, then we would have $12,826 MORE to spend.

I am not the best mathematician in Michigan, but 30 seconds with my calculator clearly indicates that a tax increase of $4,450 combined with a decrease in our insurance premium of at LEAST $11,676 puts us ahead of the game by $7,226.

Single Payer Health Insurance Will Raise My Taxes – WELL HURRY UP AND DO IT!!!!

 

Why I am Running

Written by Sherry Wells; posted by Art Myatt

I am running for office to educate the public across Michigan about what our state government has done since the late 1990s through three Governors—Republicans and a Democrat–and will continue to do to our children’s schools unless we, the people, take them back. In most cases, going “back to the future” will retrieve the better alternatives that once existed and served us well. “New” is not always progress.

My top three priorities are:
1. To develop community involvement—not corporate ownership—in schools
2. To support wrap-around services not “high-stakes testing.”
3. To restore democracy and the election by the people of their own school boards. Continue reading

GPMI and Public Education

Written by Sherry Wells; posted by Art Myatt

Even before its 1837 statehood, Michigan had a superintendent of public instruction. Both its 1908 and 1963 Constitutions provided for a State Board of Education, as the “planning and coordinating body for all public education, including higher education,” and “instructed it to advise the legislature as to the financial requirements.” The Governor was made an ex-officio member without voting rights, but all this provided balance between those entities.

The State Board was decimated by Governors, beginning with Republican Engler. Democrat Granholm promised to restore those parts, but returned only the MEAP test. Gov. Snyder ripped out the Reform and Redesign Office, despite the Board’s expertise, to inject more charter schools and his contractor buddies across the state. We see how that’s “working” for the Detroit students.

Since 1999, the State twice took over the Detroit Public Schools, both times robbing it of its surplus and sending student achievement from better than the state average to the depths. It closed new and renovated buildings paid for by the citizen-passed millage and gave them to charters. School districts with majorities of low-income students know they are next on the chopping blocks. Continue reading

How the Corporate University Cheats the Public

Written by Fran Shor; posted here by Art Myatt

www.franshor.org

Public universities have a venerable tradition going back to the nineteenth century. In the aftermath of World War II, that era’s G.I. Bill, and federal legislation in the 1960’s, public universities became much more accessible to underserved populations, especially minorities and adult workers. Unfortunately, the last few decades have witnessed an erosion of financial support at both the federal and state level.

In Michigan, the state legislature originally recognized the importance of public universities by mandating that “universities remain responsible to the public at large.” In practice, this translated into statewide voting for the governing boards of the three major public universities in Michigan – University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Wayne State.

However, as noted recently by a report issued in September 2016 by the Michigan League for Public Policy: “Between 2003 and 2017, Michigan cut university funding by more an $262,000,000, a 30% decrease in public support after adjusting for inflation. The cuts have resulted in students and their families being charged higher tuition to make up for the universities’ lost state revenue.” As a consequence, Michigan now has the sixth highest tuition in the nation for in-state students. What had been once affordable even for students from working and poor families has either priced them out of Michigan public universities or added additional debt burdens to these students and their families. Continue reading

Address to WSU Board of Governors 9/23

(author – Fran Shor; posted by Art Myatt)

Thank you for the opportunity to address this body. My name is Francis Shor and I am an Emeritus Professor in History at WSU. During my forty years as a faculty member here, I believe I only addressed the Board once – in 2007 when it was considering eliminating the special degree-granting program for working adults in which I taught. Unfortunately, the Board ratified, by a 6-2 vote, the very shortsighted proposal of the Administration. In the immediate aftermath, the university began losing students, ours included, and became a less accessible institution of higher learning for working adults and, also, African-Americans who had constituted a majority of students in our program and who we graduated at a much higher percentage than their younger cohorts in the traditional undergraduate programs at WSU.

However, I am not here to rehash an old mistake, but to address what is potentially a new mistake, albeit on the surface not as consequential. Continue reading