hvo agree on education. In 1994, Clinton signed the School-rnTo-Work Opportunities Act, which uses federal mandatesrnand funding to browbeat public schools into changing theirrnmission. Education’s traditional function is to teach basicrnknowledge and skills: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Schoolto-rnWork de-emphasizes academic work and substitutes mandatedrnvocational training to serve the corporate workforce.rn”The goal is not to graduate highly literate individuals but tornturn out team workers to produce for the global economy,”rnnotes Phyllis Schlafly.rnIn the school-to-work scheme, individual grades are inflatedrnor detached from academic achievement, individualrnhonors and competition are eliminated or de-emphasized,rnand instead we have such “team” techniques asrngroup grading, cooperative learning, peer tutoring, horizontalrnenrichment, job shadowing, mentoring and jobrnsite visits.rnScliool-to-Work is administered in Michigan by the state Departmentrnof Jobs Commission, dubbed the “Corporate WelfarernDepartment” by critics. The line-item for fiscal year 1998-99 isrn$10.9 million; more than $50 million has been spent onrnSchool-to-Work since the program’s establishment. The appropriationsrnboilerplate for the program reads, “The school-toworkrnapprenticeship programs shall link employers, organizedrnlabor, educators and communit}’ organizations for the purposernof providing necessary knowledge, skills and labor market informationrnto students.” Translation: state government will tellrnstudents which jobs are available and taxpayers will pay to trainrnthem for politically connected corporations. In this incestuousrnrelationship. Big Government climbs into bed with Big Businessrnand Big Labor, two-timing the taxpayer.rnGrowth in the School-to-Work program mirrors growth inrnthe Corporate Welfare budget. The executive order creatingrnthe )obs Commission was signed by Governor Engler inrnFebruary 1993. “[I]t is vitally important that there be maximumrncoordination, accountability and performance-relatedrnmeasures with respect to programs to foster economic expansionrnand workforce development [emphasis added],” the orderrnreads. “[I]t is also vitally important that the Governor developrnpolicies, make and implement legislative proposals, and consolidaternand implement programs to foster economic expansionrnin the State of Michigan.” The American Heritage dictionar’rndefines “foster” as to bring up, nourish, or feed. Taxpayersrnare feeding the Corporate Welfare Department today to therntune of $602.25 million, an increase of more than 140 percentrnsince Governor Engler signed his executive order. Politicallyrnconnected corporations have applauded the Corporate WelfarernDepartment: they receive the benefits, paid for by taxpayers, ofrnprograms like School-to-Work. More than $2.25 hillion hasrnbeen spent by the Jobs Commission since 1994.rn”Michigan does not need a government-directed industrialrnpolicy; it needs leadership that understands and respects the operationrnof a free market economy,” the Mackinac Center forrnPublic Policy argues in a recent publication. Advancing CivilrnSociety: A State Budget To Strengthen Michigan Culture. “Insteadrnof focusing on expanding so-called ‘pro-business’ programs,rnthe governor and legislature should recognize the institutionsrn. . . that generated tiemendous wealth in Michigan longrnbefore the advent of pervasive government intervention.”rnThe corporate welfare lobby aggressively supported passagernof Proposal A. Powerful in Engler’s Michigan, its power isrngreatiy reduced on Wall Street, where the bond market rules.rnThe neoconser’ative dream of Michigan’s Proposal A as a nationalrnmodel for school finance is still subject to the bond market’srncold, hard judgment.rnWhile Wall Street may have its doubts, others in New Yorkrnlike Proposal A. The New York Times called itrnthe first statewide, voluntary shift away from propert)’ taxes,rnas a rising national chorus of disgruntled homeownersrnand civil rights activists seek more equitable ways to providernone of society’s most basic services. Education inrnAmerica has traditionally been seen as a local concern.rnHence the reliance on propert)- taxes, which are also lessrnvulnerable to economic fluctuations, to finance schoolrnsystems. But property assessments within and amongrnstates diverge wildly. Across the countiy, the amounts ofrnmoney spent on schools based on the taxes derived fromrnthose assessments are unconscionably unequal.. .. Nowrn28 states are involved in lawsuits, many based on staternconstitutional promises of fairness, that seek to redistributernschool aid. .. . Throughout most of the U.S., childrenrnin wealthier school districts continue to benefitrnfrom superior education while those who live in poorerrndistricts—and who need more resources, not fewer—rncontinue to be deprived. .. . The fact that Michigan votersrnhave .. . tried to make school financing fairer shouldrnmake other states sit up and take notice.rnPut bluntly, the New York Times praised Proposal A’s egalitarianism:rnit centralizes power in Lansing and redistributes tax dollarsrnfrom upscale suburban districts to poorer urban schools.rnBut the Times’ “vokmtary shift” was anything but. Proposal Arngave voters the option to raise the income or sales tax to six percent.rnThey could not reject both: a vote against the sales tax increasernwould have raised the income tax. Taxpayers likenedrnthis to a choice between shooting oneself in the head or shootingrnoneself in the heart. The opportunity to reject any tax hikernwas taken away by Lansing after voters defeated a different proposalrnin June 1993.rnGovernor Engler was elected in 1990, upsetting incumbentrnDemocrat James Blanchard; his platform pledged property taxrnrelief His first tax cut plan was rejected bv voters in Novemberrn1992. After his second one failed in June 1993, Engler was anxiousrnto cut propert}’ taxes before the 1994 election. Writing inrnNational Review, Northwestern University Law ProfessorrnDaniel D. Polsby praised Governor Engler as “a gamblingrnman.”rnIn the summer of 1993, Democrats, in a ploy to illustraternthe supposed intellectual bankruptcy of Mr. Engler’srnplans, pushed a proposal through the state House of Representativesrnthat would simply abolish school fundingrnthrough property taxes. Mr. Engler did not blink. Herngot the state’s Republican-dominated Senate to pass thernmeasure too, and then he signed it. And so, in July ofrn1993, Michigan enacted into law a $6.6 billion deficit inrnits public school budget, effective as of July 1, 1994, withrnabsolutely no substitute fiinding provided for. An historicrnopportunity to rethink the system, said Mr. Engler. Bystandersrnlikened it to jumping off a diving board withoutrnSEPTEMBER 1998/19rnrnrn