“Michigan must keep up the momentum for the necessary investment and reforms to our special education system to ensure every student gets the education they deserve,” said Austin.
Austin applauded the work of the task force chaired by Lt. Governor Brian Calley, which included State Board of Education colleagues Michelle Fecteau and Eileen Weiser. “The Special Education Reform Task Force gave us a roadmap for how we can improve learning opportunities and respect the rights and dignity of our special education students,” said Austin. “Our job now is to implement their recommendations.” Austin promised to join the Lieutenant Governor in advocacy for new legislation ending seclusion and restraint and work with the State Superintendent to ensure the Michigan Department of Education carried forward other reforms called for by the Commission.
“I appreciate the partnership with the State Board of Education to improve our special education system and services,” said Lt. Governor Brian Calley, who also addressed the rally. “Working together we can help every child reach their full potential.”
Austin also noted that those states with the highest educational performance are also states that invest more in students with the greatest learning needs, including special education. “Michigan must overhaul its school finance model to provide more support for the students who have the furthest to travel, and who need the most intensive teacher support. I am committed to use every avenue, including the Governor’s 21st Century Education Commission on which I sit, to promote investments to ensure we meet the learning needs of all students, including our special education students, and put Michigan back where we belong— the best educated state.”
Austin noted the recent adequacy study conducted for the State recommended the kind of differential funding model he is advocating, with more money per pupil for students in poverty, non-English learners and special education students.