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The most important thing state government does is ensuring that all our kids have a shot at a great education. We are failing in that responsibility. Michigan’s education system now ranks 42nd in the country and is falling. Our per-pupil funding growth is dead last in the country. We have some of the largest class sizes in the country. Here's what I suggest:

More money for schools. First and foremost, we need to make funding for schools equal across regions. But you can play with formulas all you want, it won’t change the fact that we’re dead last nationwide in per-pupil spending growth.

A bipartisan group – the School Finance Collaborative – did the math and found we need the state to have a $9,500 minimum per-pupil payment. The current maximum is just $8,500. That means the average classroom in Michigan is under-funded by $25,000.

We need expanded career and technical training. Many employers in Grand Traverse County can’t find skilled, specialized staff to fill positions. I will help community colleges and job training programs work directly with local companies to build a more competitive workforce in northern Michigan.

I support reforming testing. Our current education system tells teachers to ‘teach the test’ to the detriment of students and teachers. I will prioritize real learning outcomes and career readiness, not test scores.

And we need to do more to support early childhood education in this state. The governor recently tried to allocate almost $30 million in federal funds – not new tax revenue, this is money the federal government gave Michigan – to make more families eligible for state childcare assistance. The legislature said no. If elected, I would say yes.

Paid for by Friends of Dan O'Neil, PO Box 954, Traverse City MI 49685