Friday, November 03, 2006

Just Say NO to Dick and YES to Jen - Reason #4

Our kids.
Our hope, our dreams, our future.
So why would we ever elect someone who can't help our children succeed?
Our kids deserve someone who has a proven record of fighting for them.

4. Dick DeVos is intent on bankrupting our public schools.
School vouchers - if you thought Dick and Betsy were done with them in 2000, you couldn't be more wrong. Dick's long and vast history on working against Michigan's public schools from elementary to university shows where his interests lay. We can't trust Dick with our kids futures. (There's more below)

4. Governor Jennifer Granholm has made education her top priority with tremendous results.

Pushed K-12 Funding to an All-Time High. Under Governor Granholm’s leadership, state funding for K-12 public education is at an all-time high of $7,085 per pupil. Even while eliminating $4 billion in budget deficits, Governor Granholm has made investing in public schools her top priority. (There's more)

Dick's Slippery Path

Tricky Dick's own hometown paper, The Grand Rapids Press called Dick and Betsy DeVos 'the face of the voucher movement' (GRP 7/9/06)

Dick and Betsy DeVos founded a national pro-voucher group called All Children Matter (ACM)

All Children Matter is currently pushing vouchers nationwide. "All Children Matter Director Greg Brock says along with Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin, Utah is a key state for the school-choice movement…" (Salt Lake Tribune, 6/25/06)

According to the organization’s website, Betsy DeVos is still leading the organization and is still a big contributor. On April 19, 2006, Betsy wrote a check to the tune of $200,000 to "All Children Matter."(

In Michigan, Dick and Betsy DeVos led the way in the unsuccessful 2000 campaign for school vouchers. DeVos spent $10 million and only got some 30 percent of the vote. (The New York Times, 12/20/00)

"As a candidate for governor, Dick DeVos has carefully calibrated his comments on education, skirting the incendiary issue of vouchers. But the Republican businessman spoke with more candor in a Dec. 3, 2002, speech before the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. 'But when the time comes, we will bring the fight back to Michigan again and do everything we can there.' That statement directly contradicts DeVos' statements as a gubernatorial contender." (Grand Rapids Press, 7/9/06)

Dick DeVos has no plan for improving education in Michigan. There are no policy initiatives listed on his website. Just a lot of rhetoric.

Dick DeVos supports a gas cap on Michigan’s sales tax that would take "about $285 million" from public education. When asked about the impact on schools, DeVos said, “I don’t happen to think the consequences would be substantial.” (Associated Press, 5/3/06)

Of course, then there's always his running mate to consider, and she's not much better.

Ruth Johnson has a record of giving up on public education, too.
She voted YES on passage of a Republican budget plan that cut more than $529 million from public education over three years: $71.5 million in 2001, $189.49 in 2002, and $268.5 million in 2003. [RC 381, 6/28/01, HB 4371; RC 453, 9/20/01, HB 4371]
She voted NO on an amendment that would establish a mandatory core curriculum for Michigan schools. [RC 113, 3/16/99, SB 297].
Ruthie voted against an amendment that would have doubled the Merit scholarship from $2,500 to $5,000. [HB 4302, RC 196, 3/24/99].
Ruth Johnson also voted NO on an amendment to allow more students to qualify for the Merit scholarship. [HB 4302, RC 195, 3/24/99].

Lady Jen - Our Fighter!

Proposed Plan to Give Every Student a $4,000 Scholarship. The Governor proposed her New Merit Award scholarship, which would give every student $4,000 to continue their education at a college, university or technical training school. The amount is equal to the cost of two years at most community colleges and would make a college degree affordable for every student.

Made our Schools Safer. Governor Granholm led the fight to keep sexual predators away from Michigan’s schools. She signed legislation that keeps sex offenders away from schools and childcare facilities, ensuring our children are safe on the bus, on the playground and in the classroom. (Detroit News 4/25/06)

Established a New Rigorous High School Curriculum. The Governor called for and signed into law one of the most rigorous curriculums in the nation to ensure all students are well prepared for college and the jobs of the 21st century. (Detroit Free Press 4/21/06)

Launched Early Childhood Education Efforts. Governor Granholm launched the Great Parents, Great Start program to improve school readiness and give parents the tools they need to help their children learn in the first five years of life. The Governor required licensed Michigan day-care providers to read for 30 minutes a day to children in their care. And Governor Granholm also approved the formation of a new non-profit public corporation, the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, to coordinate state and local efforts to promote early childhood development activities in Michigan.

Increased Accountability for School Districts. Governor Granholm believes we should hold our schools to high standards and give them the support they need to achieve those standards. She has pushed for comprehensive improvement plans at schools that are not meeting academic goals.

Urged Legislators to Pass Anti-Bullying Legislation. In her 2006 State of the State address, Governor Granholm called legislators to pass bills that would protect Michigan children from harassment or bullying at school. (State of Michigan, 3/21/06)

Our kids deserve someone who will fight for them and Governor Granholm's the only one.

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