The head of the largest teachers’ union in the state has a history of making factually incorrect statements in his periodic column that runs in the Detroit News.

In the Labor Voices July 23 column in the Detroit News, Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook wrote:

“Today, 50 traditional public school districts are in deficit. This is a direct result of the $1 billion cut to public education Gov. Rick Snyder pushed through in his first year in office.”

Cook is wrong on two points.

There are 45 public schools in deficit, according to the last report released in June by the Michigan Department of Education.

Overall, state and federal funding for K-12 education has increased from $12.7 billion in 2011-12 to $13.4 billion in 2013-14, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency. The state dollars spent on K-12 education has increased every year Snyder has been in office going from $11.01 billion in 2011-12 to $11.21 billion in 2012-13 to $11.60 billion in 2013-14.

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Detroit Prep is a top-rated and economically and racially diverse charter school in the city. It's growth means it needs to move out from a church basement and into a new location. Nearby is a former Detroit Public Schools building, sitting empty for years. But, worried about competition, the public school district refused to sell. For years, district and local government officials in Detroit had worked to block public charter schools. They pushed legislation at the Michigan Capitol to hinder them, refused to sell to them, transferred surplus buildings from the district to the city government and imposed deed restrictions on property sales to private developers. All of it was aimed to hinder or even prevent charter school choice outside the confines of the Detroit school district.

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