Teacher of the Year, Advocate for Dubious Union and Public School Interests – Michigan Capitol Confidential
They plead for more money and power
Michigan’s Department of Education says its Teacher of the Year “serves as a representative and advocate for Michigan’s more than 90,000 teachers…”
A March 30 Detroit Free Press op-ed written by 2021-22 Teacher of the Year Leah Porter repeats many dubious claims promoted by the state’s public school and its unions.
For this reason, Michigan Capitol Confidential is performing fact checks on several claims made by Porter, who works for the Holt Public Schools District. This is the first installment.
Porter asserted, “Even before the pandemic, Michigan’s education system was a cracking barrage, with years of neglect and underfunding eroding its foundations.”
“Neglect and underfunding” are political demands. State expenditure on public schools has increased for nine consecutive years, from 2012-13 to 2019-20.
Total funding for K-12 public schools in the 2012-13 school year from all sources (local, state, and federal) was $15.76 billion in 2022 dollars. last pre-pandemic school budget, which was for the 2019-2020 school year, a total of $17.45 billion in inflation-adjusted school spending was spent. These figures include federal funds.
Federal pandemic dollars injected into the state budget in 2021 have created a huge surplus. The 2020-21 K-12 budget included $7.87 billion in federal funding. For comparison, going back to 2000-01, the previous record federal funding for Michigan schools was $2.16 billion in 2008-09 in response to the collapse of subprime mortgages and the crisis. financial. From 2008 to 2011, Michigan’s K-12 education system received $6.4 billion (unadjusted for inflation) in federal funding. From 2019-22, the state’s K-12 system received a total of $12.85 billion in federal funding.
The huge injection of federal dollars pushed total K-12 funding (state and federal) to record highs. Total K-12 funding increased from $14.81 billion in 2018-19 (the last year before the pandemic hit schools) to $16.01 billion in 2019-20, and then to $21.72 billion in 2020-21 and $16.98 billion in 2021-22. These figures are not adjusted for inflation. There was a drop in total funding in 2021-22, but only because the unprecedented level of federal funding was not sustained.
Porter has personally benefited from the multi-year increase in spending, as have many other Michigan public school employees. Porter’s gross salary increased from $61,701 in 2013-14 to $82,596 in 2020-21.
The Holt School District that employs Porter has also benefited from the growth in state support. While enrollment in Holt schools has declined 13% since 2012-13, the district has nonetheless seen a 13% increase in the actual, after inflation, increase in state funding. This increase came even as enrollment in the districts plummeted. On a per student basis, and again, after adjusting for inflation, Holt District receives approximately $666 more per student this year than in 2012-13.
These increases are not unique to Holt; most districts recorded comparable gains, and some much more.