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Last Updated: 10/31/2017
 

 Article of Interest - Fix America's Schools

Watkins Calls On Governor To Help Put America To Work Fixing Schools
"Our local communities need the help of the state and national government to address the savage inequalities that exist in far too many of our neighborhood public schools.  It would be unacceptable for your three daughters or my two children to attend the unsafe, unfit, ill equipped schools that too many of our children are forced to attend.  It should be just as unacceptable for all children of Michigan and America to attend such schools.  The gap between the have and have-nots is as wide as it is inexcusable and unacceptable."

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September 4, 2002
The Honorable John Engler
Governor
State Capitol
Lansing, MI 48909

Dear Governor Engler:

I am asking you to use your influence as the immediate past chairman of the National Governors Association and one of the longest serving Governors in the nation to call on the President and Congress to initiate a national school infrastructure bill to renovate and build new schools across America. I can think of no better way to accomplish the multiple goals of:

Investing in the future of our country
Supporting the principles of democracy
Stimulating the economy
Putting countless skilled trades people back to work
Providing our children with classrooms that are equipped so that no child is left behind
Promoting economic growth and opportunity

Our neighborhood public schools are the true Statue of Liberty. Who else takes the tired, the hungry, the poor, the huddled masses, and children with disabilities and creates hope and opportunities?

It is estimated that in Michigan alone there is $15 billion in capital needs for schools. We have schools that leak both vertically and horizontally, have lead pipes, asbestos, are heated by coal, and do not meet current fire marshal standards. Hamtramck's newest school was built in 1930 and the children have band practice in the boiler room.

Our local communities need the help of the state and national government to address the savage inequalities that exist in far too many of our neighborhood public schools. It would be unacceptable for your three daughters or my two children to attend the unsafe, unfit, ill equipped schools that too many of our children are forced to attend. It should be just as unacceptable for all children of Michigan and America to attend such schools. The gap between the have and have-nots is as wide as it is inexcusable and unacceptable.

Recently, a $1 billion bond issue was proposed to support sewers and schools infrastructure. The sewer bond issue will be on the November ballot. The school bond will not. Do we value sewers more than our children?

Local communities need leadership at the state and national level on this vital issue. There is no better investment in our future, our communities, and our children than investing in the neighborhood public schools.

I stand ready to help in any way I can.

Sincerely,
Thomas D. Watkins, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction

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