GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A group of parents plan to speak out at the Forest Hills school board meeting Monday night, saying they want to bring clarity and context to a string of recent vocal confrontations aimed at board members. The group of parents believe that some recent concerns brought before the board originate from the efforts of advocacy groups pushing for a school voucher program to be enacted in Michigan.
“I'm really excited about Let MI Kids Learn and this petition effort. This is a chance for parents to take control of education in Michigan," former US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a February 3rd press conference for a group calling themselves Let MI Kids Learn.
"I believe that we have to change the power structure in education and give students and families more control,” she said.
The group is organizing a ballot proposal and petition drive aimed at getting a school voucher program off the ground in Michigan.
But Forest Hills parents like Becky Olson believe that people directly influenced by these sorts of voucher groups are causing serious disruptions to the school board, manufacturing concerns that are not actually impacting students in the area.
Olson is part of a parents group called Support FHSwhich aims to clarify where recent "attacks" originated, and to support the district in their ongoing efforts.
“We're at a crossroads in Forest Hills," Olson told FOX 17 Monday afternoon.
"We now know that the groups that have been attacking Forest Hills are born out of this dark money movement to advance these agendas for vouchers and other political candidates up for November election.”
While the group says they aim to support educators and administrators in the district, they are still adamant about addressing legitimate concerns that Forest Hills parents may have.
“The most important thing that Support FHPS is trying to convey tonight at the meeting is that the attacks that we've all been facing for the past year have nothing to do with the school. These are attacks that have zig-zagged all over the place,” Olson said.
“Nobody is saying that Forest Hills Public Schools, or any schools are perfect... but, we can rally together as a unified community in this district to offer real and relevant changes.”