Despite state spending of nearly $80 million to improve early reading skills in Michigan school kids, reading scores have actually gone DOWN since 2014 in our state. Not even the threat of being held back a year by state law was enough to frighten and threaten these children into learning to read better.
Michigan’s Republican Attorney General, a man who has been running for governor for a couple of decades at least, has a revolutionary idea to solve this seemingly intractable problem: “dedicated reading centers” in all schools staffed with “reading coaches”.
Schuette’s plan calls for appointing a state literacy director in his cabinet and place reading coaches in the state’s elementary schools.
Other parts of the plan include establishing dedicated reading centers in schools, creating funding incentives for schools that raise students’ reading levels, forming public-private partnerships to help with funding and provide reading mentors, and establishing reading scholarships and summer reading camps.
Mr. Schuette is, apparently, unfamiliar with the concept of the “library” and the staff position of “librarian”. However, his political party — the Republicans — are quite familiar with these concepts. Or at least they should be; they’ve been defunding them for years. It’s little wonder that kids are struggling to read in elementary schools after the Republican evisceration of the money used to run them. There’s little point in maintaining a library and paying a librarian when your building is falling down around you and there is no heat in the classroom in the winter or air conditioning in the summer. Schuette talks about “priorities” and that cuts both ways. The lack of prioritizing of reading and other standard functions of public schools by Republicans over the past decade has forced schools to set priorities of their own. Keeping the lights on and teachers in front of the classroom tend to become the focus.
Republicans like Bill Schuette know how to talk about education but when it comes time to actually prioritize it by giving public schools the resources they need, the GOP finds the bank account empty because their single-minded focus in cutting taxes for corporations and wealthy elites has drained them dry. Don’t fall for Schuette’s BS. If there’s one thing he knows how to do more than anything else, it’s to be a good Republican with all that this entails.
Oh, by the way, Schuette’s ten-point plan, a plan he calls “Great Readers on the Way”, “does not include more money for reading programs”. You knew that was coming, didn’t you?