(The Center Square) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Friday to establish the Michigan Parents’ Council.
The council’s responsibility is to meet with parents throughout the state, gather their input on a number of themes, topics, strategies and ideas; then act in an advisory role to the state superintendent and governor when relaying information from those discussions.
The council will have seven members, with selections based on different factors that include having students in schools, and in particular areas like special education and English as a second language. Also on the panel will be the governor’s K-12 policy advisor and a designated representative of the Superintendent of Public Instruction from the Michigan Department of Education.
“As a mom, I know that parents are their children’s first and most important teacher, and when parents and schools are close partners, kids thrive,” Whitmer said. “Today, I am proud to establish the Michigan Parents’ Council so we can ensure that parents have an empowered seat at the table in Michigan. We need parents’ perspectives as we head into the 2022-2023 school year and stay focused on helping our kids learn in-person, tackle unfinished learning, and get on track for long-term success. The bipartisan education budget I just signed delivers record resources to our schools, and with the input of Michigan parents, we can help schools implement this historic funding.”
The announcement comes one day after the governor signed the 2023 bipartisan $20 billion education bill into law.
It also follows a controversial tweet from the Michigan Democratic Party last January, which was quickly deleted but not before the tweet attracted national attention.
“Not sure where this ‘parents-should-control-what-is-taught-in-schools-because-they-are-our-kids’ is originating, but parents do have the option to send their kids to a hand-selected private school at their own expense if this is what they desire,” read the post, which continued: “The purpose of public education in public schools is not to teach kids only what parents want them to be taught. It is to teach them what society needs them to know. The client of the public school is not the parent, but the entire community, the public.”
The post prompted the Michigan Senate to adopt Resolution 0107 last February, asserting “the fundamental rights of parents to direct their children’s education,” and a video response from the conservative Michigan Freedom Fund.
Tori Sachs, executive director of the Freedom Fund, issued a statement shortly after Whitmer’s announcement of the council.
“Parents have every right to be upset after Democrats said they shouldn’t have a say in their children’s education, Governor Whitmer locked their kids out of the classroom, and then vetoed scholarships to help students recover from her disastrous policies,” Sachs said. “It’s clear that Governor Whitmer hasn’t listened to parents and it’s laughable to think that Michiganders will fall for this politically poll tested stunt.”