Reader questions Stobie’s definition of a school.

October 25, 2014

Letter to the Editor:

This past week I attended both the candidates’ forums in Ludington and then in Manistee.   This was the first time I had learned of Michigan House candidate Tom Stobie’s plan for educational financing.

My jaw dropped  in Manistee when Mr. Stobie clearly stated that he would divert state funds used for supporting our community colleges and apply them instead to our schools. All throughout the series of questions in Manistee he said his main focus was education and that this was his solution to better paying jobs. So my first thoughts were “What does he define as education? What is a school?”

He stated both in Ludington and in Manistee that he was against increasing the number of charter schools so apparently these are in his mind a lesser quality of education than the one and only school he taught at and was superintendent of in Frankfort for 40 years. Based on comments he made in Ludington I seriously question whether he understands the role of charter schools especially as in Mason County there is currently a plan to begin one that has, as reported by news media, been wholeheartedly endorsed by local public school administrators.

And if an educational institution such as West Shore Community College doesn’t rank up there as being important, then how do those high school graduates in the poor and middle class who cannot afford to attend a university better themselves if a constantly improving, low cost, quality community college not be offered as a viable option?

I also wonder if Mr. Stobie is even aware of dual enrollment offered to local high schools such is done in the surrounding area where those students who excel are able to hone their skills and talents at WSCC while possibly decreasing an often stressful and burdening educational debt load in the future. In my own family I know how important this program was 15 years ago.
It saddens me to see a candidate who says he’s all about education be so seemingly out of touch with so much the educated voter in the 101st District already knows.

Rod Merrill

Victory Township

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