Education spending, charter schools and retirement plans make political headlines

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This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss new investigations into charter schools, the new education spending bill and the impacts after the removal of state pension plans.

Charter schools

The topic of charter schools is making headlines this week. A year-long investigation by the Detroit Free Press is being published this week. It’s uncovering some insider trading and it found that charter schools have not done the job in terms of educating children.

Education spending

Governor Snyder signed an education budget bill yesterday.

Lessenberry says it increases money for higher education by around 6%, which as Lessenberry notes “doesn’t make up for the cuts they took earlier in the Snyder administration”. It also funds pre-K programs more than ever before.

Pensions vs. 401Ks

Some economists are talking about the negative effects of ending pension plans for public employees. They say the alternative 401K plans provide less security, but Shockley wonders if the state had any other choice considering ending pension plans has cut Michigan’s debt by around $5 billion.

Lessenberry says while Michigan saved a lot of money in the short term, the real question is what impact this will have in the long run. That’s because 401Ks are based on mutual funds and the stock markets and are fairly volatile.