Gretchen Whitmer on Education



Sending a message LOUD and CLEAR: we support our teachers

We're sending a message LOUD and CLEAR: we support our teachers. We walk the walk. We fund scholarships for future educators, pay student teachers, and help full-time teachers with their student loans so they stay in Michigan. We accept out-of-state certificates, so if you have experience, you can enter the classroom without jumping through bureaucratic hoops. As a result, enrollment rates in Michigan's teacher prep programs are beating other states. If you want to teach, we want you here.
Source: 2024 State of the State Address to the Michigan legislature , Jan 24, 2024

A free, public preschool education for every 4-year-old

Every parent knows an early start is critical to their child's future. It's why we: read, talk, and sing to our babies, worry about finding a great child care provider, and have wait lists for great preschools. Let's expand our bipartisan preschool effort--the Great Start Readiness Program--so every 4-year-old in Michigan can access a free, public preschool education by the end of my second term.

Let's fund MI Kids Back on Track, to offer every child personalized learning support to get them back on track for long-term success Investing in tutoring, after-school programs, and other learning supports gets children 1-on-1 time with a caring, qualified educator that they need to succeed. We need tutoring to get our kids back on track for Michigan's long-term economic success. Let's fund MI Kids Back on Track before spring break.

Source: 2023 State of the State Address to the Michigan legislature , Jan 25, 2023

Goal: 60% earn a degree or skills certificate by 2030

To help young people get jobs to "make stuff and grow stuff," let's support talent development and keep closing in on our 60 by 30 goal to have 60% of people earn a degree or skills certificate by 2030. Let's keep funding the bipartisan Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which lowers the cost of higher education--community college, private, or public university--by thousands of dollars for most students and makes college tuition-free for 65% of graduating seniors.
Source: 2023 State of the State Address to the Michigan legislature , Jan 25, 2023

No tax credits for donations for private school scholarships

Summary by Mackinac Center (10/14/21): To authorize a K-12 "student opportunity scholarship program" that would allow individuals and businesses to get a tax credit for contributing to a nonprofit "scholarship organization" that would provide grants to lower income families to pay tuition at a non-public school, or pay for other education expenses, services and supplies.

Veto message by Governor Gretchen Whitmer (11/5/21): This legislation would require Michigan taxpayers to foot the bill for any money a person gives to certain private education organizations, costing as much as $500 million in 2022 alone. Simply put, our schools cannot provide the high-quality education our kids deserve if we turn private schools into tax shelters for the wealthy.

Legislative Outcome: Passed Senate 20-16-0 on Oct/19/21; passed House 55-49-5 on Oct/27/21; vetoed by Gov. Whitmer on Nov/5/21.

Source: Michigan State Legislature voting records SB687 , Nov 5, 2021

Our economy demands every child has a great public education

Our economy demands every child has a great public education. Despite the budget crisis caused by COVID, we worked across the aisle to support our public schools. I signed a bipartisan budget that protected our kids from school cuts and took another step towards a weighted funding formula. That means additional support for: students with special needs, economically disadvantaged students, and English language learners.
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Michigan legislature , Jan 27, 2021

Tuition-free opportunities for COVID front line workers

I created Futures for Frontliners, modeled after the G.I. Bill after World War II - tuition-free postsecondary education opportunities for the heroes on the front lines of the pandemic. Our frontline workers--everyone who stepped up to protect us--are heroes. They stayed at work so the rest of us could stay home. More than 82,000 frontline heroes have been accepted into the program. That's over 82,000 lives who will enhance their skill set and earn higher wages.
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Michigan legislature , Jan 27, 2021

Students are preparing for jobs that don't even exist today

Michigan needs a governor who knows how to get things done to fix our schools, so every student has the support, tools and skills they need to compete for high-wage jobs and have full and productive lives. Students are preparing for jobs that don't even exist today, which means we must teach them how to think critically, to problem solve complex issues and to work as a team. That's what this agenda is all about.
Source: 2022 Michigan Gubernatorial website GretchenWhitmer.com , Mar 24, 2020

Double down on investment in early literacy

Michigan ranks in the bottom 10 states for overall literacy. We're doubling down on the commitment to invest in early literacy. We're working to make pre-k universal for kids where test scores are low or poverty is high. And we're providing better access to childcare for parents who are in school or working full-time. We've tripled the number of literacy coaches in the state. The next step is to have literacy coaches train educators to better identify and support struggling readers.
Source: 2020 Michigan State of the State address , Jan 29, 2020

Increase number of post-secondary credentials to 60% by 2030

In 2019, I set a goal to increase the number of Michiganders with a post-secondary credential to 60% by 2030. To get there, there's bipartisan legislation called Michigan Reconnect, that will provide tuitionfree skills training and degree programs for adults. Our business community supports Michigan Reconnect. And here's why: We have over 100,000 in-demand jobs to fill. These are good paying jobs--jobs in construction, IT, and advanced manufacturing. But they demand specialized skills training.
Source: 2020 Michigan State of the State address , Jan 29, 2020

Opposes vouchers: Stop the dismantling of public education

Q: Increase funding for K-12 education?

Bill Schuette (R): No statements found on overall funding. Focus on literacy. "Grade schools on an A-F scale, giving schools performance-based grants as incentives."

Gretchen Whitmer (D): Yes. Expand full-day universal pre-K. More resources for hard-to-educate children. Ensure School Aid Fund money goes to K-12 education, close tax loopholes that erode funding.

Q: Support vouchers to send children to private schools with public money. Expand charter schools?

Bill Schuette (R): Yes. Use vouchers to send children to any participating school (public, private, religious). Expand charters.

Gretchen Whitmer (D): No. Opposes vouchers. Stronger oversight of charters. "Stop the dismantling of public education."

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Michigan Governor race , Oct 9, 2018

2 years of debt-free post-secondary education

Q: Increase state funding for higher education?

Bill Schuette (R): Unclear. Support more trade & vocational offerings. The proposed tax cut would likely reduce general fund, so may risk higher education funding.

Gretchen Whitmer (D): Yes. Apportion $100 million to give qualifying students 2 years of debt-free post-secondary education, whether in vocational schools or colleges.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Michigan Governor race , Oct 9, 2018

Invest in education; hold charters accountable

I am committed to expanding early childhood education to all Michigan kids. To improve outcomes for all students means boosting instructional hours, respecting and supporting our teachers and staff, and investing in our classrooms and wraparound services. Charter schools and the businesses that run them must be held accountable. It's time we put much-needed oversight in place to hold charter schools accountable.
Source: 2018 Michigan Gubernatorial website GretchenWhitmer.com , Nov 1, 2017

More funding for teachers, school buildings, & Head Start

Source: 2004 MI Congressional National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 2004

Other governors on Education: Gretchen Whitmer on other issues:
Gubernatorial Debates 2023:
KY: Incumbent Andy Beshear(D)
vs.State A.G. Daniel Cameron(R)

vs.Ambassador Kelly Craft(R)
vs.State Auditor Mike Harmon(R)
LA: Incumbent John Bel Edwards(D,term-limited)
vs.Jeff Landry(R)
vs.Shawn Wilson(D)
vs.John Schroder(R)
vs.Sharon Hewitt(R)
MS: Incumbent Tate Reeves(R)
vs.Bill Waller(R,withdrew)
vs.Brandon Presley(D)

Gubernatorial Debates 2024:
DE: Gov. John Carney (D, term-limited);
Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long (D)
vs. Matt Meyer (D)
IN: Gov. Eric Holcomb (R, term-limited);
Sen. Mike Braun (R)
vs. Suzanne Crouch (R)
vs. Jennifer McCormick (D)
MO: Gov. Mike Parson (R, term-limited):
Jay Ashcroft (R)
vs. Bill Eigel (R)
vs. Mike Kehoe (R)
vs. Crystal Quade (D)
MT: Gov. Greg Gianforte (R)
vs. Tanner Smith (R)
vs. Ryan Busse (D)
Gubernatorial Debates 2024 (continued):
NC: Gov. Roy Cooper (D, term-limited);
Dale Folwell (R)
vs. Michael Morgan (D)
vs. Mark Robinson (R)
vs. Josh Stein (D)
vs. Andy Wells (R)
ND: Gov. Doug Burgum (R)
vs. State Rep. Rick Becker (R)
NH: Gov. Chris Sununu (R, retiring)
vs. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R)
vs. Joyce Craig (D)
vs. Chuck Morse (R)
vs. Cinde Warmington (D)
UT: Gov. Spencer Cox (R)
vs. State Rep. Phil Lyman (R)
VT: Gov. Phil Scott (R) unopposed
WA: Gov. Jay Inslee (D, retiring);
Hilary Franz (D, withdrew)
vs. State Sen. Mark Mullet (D)
vs. County Chair Semi Bird (R)
vs. WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D)
WV: Gov. Jim Justice (R, term-limited);
vs. WV State Auditor JB McCuskey (R, withdrew)
vs. WV Secretary of State Mac Warner (R)
vs. State Del. Moore Capito (R)
vs. WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R)
vs. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D)
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Page last updated: Feb 16, 2024; copyright 1999-2022 Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org