Garrett Wilson and Jon Rotbard Poverty in Michigan Media Artifact

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue: 

My media artifact: Poverty in Michigan

2. Persona and POV statement Persona: Persona name: Jake Qualter Age: 10 School/occupation: 4th grade, elementary school Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan   Quote: "My mom works really hard to make sure I have a successful life, and I'm going to do her proud!"   About:
  • Has a learning disability which makes it difficult for him to pay attention during class
  • Lives below the poverty line with his single mother in a two-bedroom apartment
  • Has a good relationship with his family, visits his father every couple of weeks
  • Become a doctor so he can help people
  • Get better grades in school and learn to better pay attention in class
  • Get 1:1 help with his schoolwork, as the classroom setting is not the best learning environment for him


POV Statement:
  • User: Jake, a motivated but struggling elementary school student . . .
  • Need: . . . needs to be able to afford an alternative educational approach . . .
  • Insight:  . . . because he has trouble paying attention in a classroom setting because of his learning disability, but knows that he learns much better when he is being taught to directly.


3. Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: Establishing a Universal Basic Income in Michigan that is at the living wage with adjustment for inflation built into the bill.

SOLUTION 2: Creating mandatory quotas for colleges in Michigan to take students from lower-income areas and give them any aid they require to attend college, helping alleviate the vicious cycle of poverty.

SOLUTION 3: Eliminate geographic boundaries on public schools, allowing people to go to any public school of their choice, eliminating gaps in quality of public schools between richer and poorer areas and giving those in poverty the ability to get the education they want.



Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:



Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).





Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.


Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.


Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?


The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... Low-income students who are struggling in their classes do not have access to one-on-one instruction that higher income students do tend to underperform comparatively to higher income students, leading to a vicious cycle of disadvantages for lower income students.

WHEREAS.... Continuously increasing class sizes leads to an academic environment that privileges higher-income students who have access to alternative education techniques leading to disparities in educational attainment regardless of academic ability.

WHEREAS.... Students with learning disabilities that require specific educational accommodations lack access due to disparities in income regardless of motivation or ability leading to disadvantages in the college admissions and job search processes.

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).


1. As part of a 3 middle-school pilot program in Michigan at poorly performing school districts, educational vouchers are created for and distributed at a bimonthly rate to lower-income parents (those under the poverty line) to subsidize an hour of free one-on-one tutoring per week in a subject of choice.

2. Increase teacher hours by 3 hours per week to allow for one-on-one interaction with students.

3. Require those who do not have vouchers to pay for these one-on-one instruction sessions at a rate of 150% of teacher hourly pay to offset the cost of this program.


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. Higher income people, especially those near but above the poverty line, will not appreciate the idea of subsidizing the education of lower-income individuals

2. There are already enough social and educational programs in school.

3. The high cost of one-on-one teacher interaction does not justify the possible benefits, and the vouchers/extra hours may not be fully utilized.

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?

The average salary of a teacher in Michigan is $61,978. Divide this by 42 weeks of work and we have $1,476 per week. Divide this by the 5 days they work and we have $295 per day. Divide this by the 8 hours they work per day and the hourly wage is about $37. $37/hour times 3 hours extra per week is $111 per week. There are about 30 teachers in the school which means it would be $3,330 per school. If we piloted in 3 schools this would make the program cost $9,990. This makes it a reasonable proposal in terms of funding this on a local level.

The funding will come from the higher income students paying the $55.50/hour rate if they are not eligible for school vouchers (on average). We need a little bit more than half of students who do not have vouchers to come in and pay in order to finance this proposal. If this did not work due to lack of interest among higher-income students, we could look into raising school taxes at an amount projected by the pilot program to cover the difference.

People who will object to this proposal will primarily be higher income individuals who are slightly above the poverty line and don’t qualify for vouchers. They will likely be upset that they will be subsidizing others education. Additionally, unionized teachers may not want to have their hours raised.




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Total votes: 2