A few weeks prior to Election Day 2014, the campaign of Gov. Rick Snyder started countering untrue claims that under his leadership K-12 spending in Michigan had decreased $1 billion. By that time, Capitol Confidential readers were well-versed on the issue.
Over the past two years, Capitol Confidential manned the front line in the battle against the false premise that the state’s education funding was down. That premise was manufactured by the Michigan Education Association and what might be termed its “education is always underfunded” coalition.
In article after article, Capitol Confidential exposed the dishonesty in which the “K-12 funding cuts” dogma was rooted. Now it can finally be reported that ultimately that politically inspired dogma failed to resonate with the people of Michigan.
Gov. Snyder and the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 made what in accepted Lansing political parlance is generally considered “cuts” to K-12 spending. In response, the MEA and its coalition endeavored to exact a heavy political price upon them with what amounted to a nonelection year campaign. One GOP lawmaker was narrowly recalled from office, but otherwise all the ensuing noise, rallying and rhetoric accomplished little.
After Gov. Snyder’s first year in office he and the Legislature started to increase funding for K-12 education. Instead of adjusting their rhetorical narrative to the new reality, the MEA and its coalition played fast and loose with the facts. They continued to loudly proclaim K-12 spending was down although the charge was unfounded.
Many segments of the news media gave credence to the creative devices the “education is always underfunded” coalition employed to prop up its claim K-12 spending had been reduced. Meanwhile, Capitol Confidential focused on the actual funding figures to set the record straight. Whether hiking K-12 education spending was the right decision or not, the groundless charge that funding levels were down had to be challenged.