Education Policy Guide for Legislators

The Berrien County Education Policy Guide for Legislators

Berrien County Superintendents' Perspective

Building positive relationships and having open, ongoing dialogue with our elected officials is critical to the success of our children in Berrien County. As leaders of our education community, Berrien County's superintendents are eager to support legislators in their work and appreciate their willingness to champion the needs of Berrien County’s students and school personnel. We are glad to provide resources, share data and provide insight at any time. We encourage collaboration when developing and voting on legislation. We invite legislators to celebrate our students’ achievements and participate in our school activities. By working together, we know that Berrien County children will have the greatest opportunities to have a successful future!

The Berrien County Legislative Policy Guide was designed to serve as a resource packet outlining our priority topics for the current legislative cycle. Please refer to this guide when evaluating education concepts or considering how to vote on legislation that impacts the education community. Of course, as legislation is introduced or amendments are offered, opinions may change. Therefore, it is imperative that communication between legislators and Berrien County’s superintendents is consistent and unencumbered.  Local district superintendents are glad to answer questions and will provide honest feedback related to education policy. Educators and legislators may not always agree on topics as they are presented, but they can agree to build relationships that support the educational needs of students in our community.

Overall Considerations

  • When drafting legislation, consider the Michigan Department of Education’s (MDE) Top 10 in 10 initiative and the Department’s three priority areas: prenatal to age 8, supporting the whole child, and literacy.
  • Focus on student growth through sustained funding and programming. Encourage student success through their own achievement rather than assigning grades to school districts.
  • Provide equity (in resources and funding) for students of all abilities so that everyone is able to receive a fair and quality educational experience.
  • Think of education as a continuum of services. Support mental wellness, school counseling, safety initiatives, food programs and other social service resources when drafting legislation.
  • Increase the value of public education (0-age 26) by recognizing that the educational journey begins before kindergarten.
  • Elevate the teaching profession by supporting and acknowledging the work that educators do in and out of the classroom. Provide incentives to strengthen the teaching workforce and ensure teachers are prepared for the classroom through quality college programming.
  • Fully fund education. Use tax dollars for their intended purposes - to fund public schools, not colleges or private schools.
  • Provide opportunities for school systems to utilize resources to their fullest extent by maintaining current testing tools and measurement rubrics.
  • Reinforce the value of ISDs as regional education service providers.

Governor Whitmer's Initiatives

Berrien County superintendents encourage legislators to support the Governor’s vision to help residents and neighbors invest, build and thrive in Michigan:

  • Help at least 60 percent of Michigan’s residents earn their post-secondary certifications.
  • Make Michigan a leader in Third Grade literacy rates.
  • Ensure revenues coming into the state’s General and school aid funds are being used for their intended purposes. This includes amending current processes that allow public universities to rely on school aid revenue.
  • Work to ensure transportation needs are funded with predictable, constitutionally dedicated restricted funds.

Source: Governor’s FY 2020 discussion points printed March 5, 2019 and echoed in the 2019 State of the State address.

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