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"Flush with Cash"

I took some time this morning to read President Trump's inauguration speech yesterday. I was at school during the day and unable to watch it, but I still feel it's important to take the time to read and be aware, even if I disagree with someone.

In his speech, President Trump said this: "... an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge..."

And it's that part of his speech in particular that I take offense to.

To make that claim about schools in America--and particularly those in Michigan--is false.

I am a teacher. I serve on a board of education in another district. And I can tell you that neither district is "flush with cash." Year after year these districts have had to make difficult budget cuts, often balanced by the sacrifices made by employee groups.

When I hear rhetoric that districts should do more with less, that really means they should cut salaries and benefits. Anyone even remotely paying attention to education finance knows that roughly 80% of every district's budget is spent on salaries and benefits. And in both of these districts, employees have faced reductions from 2.6 - 7 % at any given time over the last few years. I wouldn't expect a president who has the privilege of not taking a salary to understand what sacrifices like that mean.

In the district where I work, there is a teacher, a professional, who receives government assistance. It is unfathomable that a person can spend four years to earn a degree and make so little yet doing such vital work.

But what's even more alarming is the insinuation that districts are cash cows. That they operate under the guise of helping students but really work to pad their pockets.

How, sir, do you explain the rise of for-profit charter schools in Michigan? How, sir, do you explain the recently completed adequacy study in Michigan that revealed schools are actually underfunded?

But I wouldn't expect the president to know this, explain this, or even remember this. Just yesterday, he couldn't even remember who his nominee was for secretary of education. Paul Ryan had to confirm that it is Betsy DeVos. And that, friends, is even more alarming.

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