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Governor Whitmer appoints Michigan Parents’ Council membership amid education criticisms


A new government board to involve Michigan parents in the state education budget-making process is set to meet for the first time on Tuesday.

The Michigan Parents’ Council’s main responsibilities include gathering feedback from parents and family members and funneling it into a report for the governor’s budget recommendations.

On Monday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the appointment of 11 parents to serve on the board.

“Parents are their children’s first and most important teacher, and we need their input to help our kids thrive in school," Whitmer said in a press release. “We need parents’ perspectives to help our kids learn in-person, tackle unfinished learning, and get on track for long-term success.”

The 11 councilmembers will work alongside a representative from her office and one from the state Department of Education.

Some of them, like Michigan PTA President, Tracey Troy, come from advocacy groups.

“This council is the opportunity to empower Michigan parents and caregivers to work collaboratively with Governor Whitmer and Michigan Department of Education to help students reach their full potential,” Troy said in the governor’s office press release.

Whitmer created the council earlier this year through an executive order.

The group “Great Lakes Education Project” has been critical of Whitmer over her COVID policies and opposition to conservative-backed initiatives.

After Whitmer’s appointments, the group accused her of using parents as “political props” rather than empowering them.

“Parents, the public and the press shouldn’t be confused – after the Governor vetoed reading scholarships, mental health services, and $500 million in additional student-centered education investments, Whitmer’s rigged “Parents Council” is a crass attempt to use parents – not support them,” GLEP Executive Director Beth DeShone said in a press release Monday.

Meanwhile, the governor’s team is using the council to refocus attention on investments in the state’s latest education budget. The Michigan Parents’ Council’s recommendations for the governor for her next spending proposal are due by December 9.

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Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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