Governor Rick Snyder knows he's angered many people with some of his budget proposals, particularly when it comes to education. But, he says it's all for the betterment of the State. Snyder spoke at the Governor's Education Summit at the Kellogg Center on Michigan State's campus on Monday. He addressed hundreds of educators who are eager to hear more on how the Governor plans to re-invent education.
"Anything less than 100% is not good enough," declared Governor Snyder.
He is adamant about raising the bar when it comes to education in Michigan.
"If you look at the numbers, we're not doing as well as we have to do.... Less than 50% of students are proficient in writing across grades 4, 7, and 11," said Snyder. "That's not good enough."
The educators in the room were faced with the reality of sinking achievement and resources. But Snyder said, turning it all around starts with attitudes.
"The way to fix it is not to get down on people. It's not to spend time on blame. It's not to be negative to one another."
The governor wants to focus on proficiency and quantitative measurements. Something many educators say will be difficult and with the amount of proposed funding cuts, they call it an uneven sacrifice.
"If the purpose of schools are to raise citizens that to service the state and learn how to have a quality of life then those qualities aren't reflected on a test," said Matinga Ragatz, a teacher at Grand Ledge High School. "They don't measure everything."
"The best part of measurements is not to have measurement as a way to penalize people but to have measurements as a way to recognize success. To have a way to really measure what you've accomplished," said Governor Snyder.
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says he's supportive of the governor and many of the reforms.
"The easy way out would be not to bring up pensions for revenue. I'm willing to pay taxes on pension, I think it's a fair resolution," said Flanagan. He added, "I think we have to be careful about being against something because in this case Medicaid would have been destroyed."
For children to succeed, the governor harped on the fact that performance needs to be measured, rewarded and it needs to be a joint effort.
"This is not about you or me, it's about 'we.' 'We' not spending time on blame. 'We' not spending time on past problems. 'We' will focus on the future and problem solving," said Snyder.