Michigan’s education funding woes have caught the attention of the national financial media.
Earlier this month CNBC released its annual “America’s Top States for Business.” Michigan was middle of the pack, ranked 24th, trailing Missouri and ahead of New Hampshire. Virginia was ranked the best state in the country for doing business, just ahead of Texas and North Carolina. Mississippi, Hawaii and Rhode Island were ranked the worst, according to the financial news network’s list.
Also of note is Michigan’s significant drop in the annual rankings. In 2018, the network had Michigan as the 11th best state in the country. CNBC uses a variety of sources for its rankings including U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and Moody’s Investor Service.
In 2019, Michigan was given high marks for its cost of living, as well as technology and innovation, mostly due to the heavy presence of the automotive industry, but was dragged down by its poor education system and quality of life, which got grades of “D-” and “D+,” respectively.
“The state’s auto industry is an engine for technology and innovation, but underfunded schools are affecting student progress,” CNBC said of the state.
Interestingly, CNBC gave the state’s infrastructure a “C,” a more generous grade than the “D+” that Michigan received from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Educators in the state have praised Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed budget to increase education funding.
Speaking last month at a teacher’s rally at the state Capitol, Whitmer blasted Republican legislators for not properly funding education.
Whitmer told the crowd last month that “our challenges are because of a failure in this building behind me [the Capitol], not because of our children.” She called upon the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass it in order to “reduce class size, to give our kids the wraparound support they need, and … to make sure that our educators can make a living doing the hardest job there is.”