Michigan Voters Could Create One Of The Nation’s Largest School Choice Programs

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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Michigan voters will have the chance to create one of the largest school choice programs in the country on Nov. 8.

The Let Michigan Learn Proposal on the Michigan ballot starts with a $500 million cap for school vouchers, one of the largest in the country, and can increase by 20% each year. All students age 5 and older are eligible to apply, but low-income families and students with disabilities would be prioritized. (RELATED: Michigan’s Democratic Governor Is Rapidly Losing Ground To Her GOP Opponent: POLL)

“Here, the families completely control where those dollars go and who the service provider will be,” Beth DeShone, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project, told The 74, a nonprofit news organization focused on education. “We fully believe that families need every opportunity in their toolbox to meet the needs of their individual students.”

Private and homeschool students can receive up to 90% of the state’s per pupil funding cap, which is more than $9,000 for the 2022-2023 school year, the Let Michigan Learn website stated. Students in public school can receive up to $500 and special needs public school students are eligible for up to $1,100.

The vouchers, called Michigan Student Opportunity Accounts, allow parents to choose what the funds can go toward including individual students’ transportation, tuition, tutoring and after school programs, the Let Michigan Learn website showed. More than 1 million Michigan students are currently eligible for the vouchers.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos helped kick off the campaign on Feb. 2, a Let Michigan Learn YouTube video showed. The DeVos family has also donated at least $3.2 million to Let Michigan Learn, Bridge Michigan reported.

In June, of 600 Michigan voters surveyed, 93% did not know about the Let Michigan Learn Proposal, according to EPIC-MRA, a Michigan polling group. In August, more than 1 million Michigan signatures were submitted in support of the Let Michigan Learn Proposal to the Michigan Legislature, according to the Michigan Catholic Conference.

In 2021, the Michigan Legislature sent bills to create school vouchers to Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk, the 74 Million reported. Whitmer vetoed the bill, saying the program will “turn private schools into tax shelters for the wealthy.”

Voters fill out their ballots at a school gymnasium on November 03, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans went to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Voters fill out their ballots at a school gymnasium on November 03, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Republican Michigan Gov. candidate Tudor Dixon has voiced her support for the school voucher program, campaigning on her plans to reform the education system in the state, the 74 Million stated.

A February poll showed that more than 70% of Americans support school choice legislation and funding students over public school systems.

Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the most expansive school choice program in the country in July, which allows more than 1.1 million Arizona students to receive funds whether they are outside the public school program or wish to transfer schools.

“It’s extremely important we are funding the students and not funding systems,” Katie Woodhams, a Michigan mother, told the 74 Million.

Let Michigan Learn did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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