Thursday, April 14, 2016
Austin Goes After 'Shortsighted Politicians' In Re-Election Announcement
State Board of Education President John AUSTIN announced his re-election today by using the Flint water crisis and as an example of how "shortsighted politicians'" in the Legislature and Governor's office have used their desire for tax cuts over investment to do damage to the state's public education system.
Austin hit at all the hot-button issues in his announcement: Unlimited charter schools, corporate-owned cyber schools receiving the same state-paid allotment as traditional public schools and a state guidance policy that encourages schools to be sensitive to transgender students.
"They've unleashed a destructive race to the bottom where private companies sell educational services and open schools with no quality standards, pocketing millions in our tax dollars while the learning of our children across Michigan," said Austin.
The Ann Arbor Democrat said the reactionary Legislature's decision to cut instead of invest has led to "bad consequences for the people of Michigan" as is reflective in the current Detroit Public School disaster.
He defended rigorous learning standards, like Common Core, saying that it's "counterproductive to walk back to 19th Century where some locals set high standards and others do not.
He said those who try to "politicized science standards" when it comes to creationism and climate change are "going the wrong way to support our students."
Austin is seeking his third term on the board. Austin, the director of the Michigan Economic Center at Prima Civitas Foundation, is the only Democrat to formally announce for the two slots chosen at the Michigan Democratic Party convention.
Current Board member Kathleen STRAUS, who was first elected to the board in 1992, is not seeking re-election. Former Rep. Tom McMILLIN is running on the Republican side (See "Former Rep. McMillin Hops Into State Ed Board Race," 2/11/16).
The Ann Arbor Democrat quoted U.S. Rep. Debbie DINGELL (D-Dearborn) and Kalamazoo Promise Trustee Janice BROWN in his announcement news release. Dingell said Austin provides "essential leadership." Brown said Austin is a "doer -- bringing all sides together on major policy issues."
"John is totally focused on how we meet the learning needs and create the shot at a better life provided by great education, for the children of our state who most need it--the children in Detroit elsewhere in Michigan who have the greatest needs and the furthest to travel," said Executive Director of Excellent Schools Detroit Dan VARNER.
Source: MIRS News