By George Darany
I’m proud to stand up for my hometown of Dearborn in the Michigan House of Representatives. I’m especially proud to stand up for Dearborn Public Schools – not just as a supporter, but as a proud graduate.
I know firsthand how well our schools prepare students, and how they continue to do so for thousands of children and teens in our community. As I’ve participated in committees and projects with Dearborn schools throughout the years, I’ve seen how our parents, teachers, administrators, community members and local officials work together for one purpose: to make sure our kids get the very best education available.
We work hard for our schools in Dearborn because we understand what is at stake. We know that our schools must be able to prepare our young people so they can compete for good-paying jobs in this rapidly changing 21st century global economy. To attract these jobs to Michigan, we must have the highly talented workers that new and existing businesses rely on to thrive.
That’s what it will take to create jobs and diversify our economy. It’s all connected – and education is the strongest link. Weakening that link by cutting funding to our schools is one of the biggest mistakes our state can make.
Unfortunately, some in Lansing do not understand this at all. The current budget proposal includes drastic cuts to schools that will make it impossible for our kids to be educated properly.
Most disturbing to me, the proposal singles out Dearborn schools. It goes beyond the millions in per-pupil cuts being made elsewhere and makes our school district one of only two in the state that loses additional funds as well.
This funding is critical to serve the needs of our diverse population – this is funding our schools use to serve Dearborn’s economically disadvantaged and bilingual kids. That’s about 40 percent of our students.
Apparently, some in Lansing think those kids aren’t worth educating. They think those kids can be tossed aside. Well, that is not OK with me. From the rallies I’ve hosted and attended in our community and the parents and teachers I met protesting in Lansing, it’s clear this is not OK with you either.
In Dearborn, we have a diverse community and that adds to our strength. We value every member of our community. We need the resources to enable every child to succeed.
That is why our schools have received this money from the state – and we have put it to excellent use. It is not “extra” funding. It is funding that our schools need to meet the demands of a student body made up of a range of ethnicities, languages and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Our schools have shown tremendous fiscal responsibility and excellent results with this money. They have produced the kind of “return on investment” that the governor talks about.
Instead of rewarding this fiscal responsibility, Lansing wants to punish our kids in Dearborn even more than others in the state. These drastic cuts to our schools will mean bigger classes, outdated textbooks, fewer resources – more disadvantages for our kids who already face so many obstacles to their success.
As your voice in Lansing, and especially as a member of the House Education Committee, I am doing everything I can to protect our children’s education. I will not stand for balancing the budget on the backs of our children.
I will keep fighting these drastic cuts and will work to stop politicians from raiding the state’s School Aid Fund for other purposes, which is part of the current budget plan.
I encourage you to speak out against the proposed drastic cuts to our schools. One way you can do that is by signing a petition at a Website that my colleagues and I launched: www.fightschoolcuts.com.
We must all work together to stop this attack on our children’s education. There is simply too much at stake not to.
(State Rep. George T. Darany represents the 15th House District. To contact him, call (855) 775-1515 or email him at [email protected]. To sign up for his e-newsletter, go to his Website, house.mi.gov/gdarany.)