This Week & Next (Feb 5, 2016)

First Hearing on DPS bills focuses on finances
The first hearing on SB 710 & 711 (Hansen), the DPS reform bills, was held yesterday in the Government Operations Committee. Providing testimony during the 2+ hour hearing was Sen. Hansen; John Walsh, Office of the Governor; Natasha Baker, State Reform Office; Mayor Mike Duggan; and Tonya Allen, Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren.

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This Week & Next (Jan 29, 2016)

No hearings, but plenty of DPS talk
Hearings on SB 710 & 711 (Hansen), the DPS reform bills in the Government Operations Committee have yet to be scheduled, but we understand negotiations continue behind-the-scenes to determine both the level of support for the DPS bailout and looking for a funding beyond the School Aid Fund are a top priority. As of today, no members of the Senate have publicly announced their position on the bills. Here’s an interesting article quoting Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp), Chair of the House School Aid

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DPS Battle Could Turn On Opening, Closing Schools

Christopher Klaver, Gongwer, January, 20 2016 — While headlines for years have been on Detroit Public Schools’ debt and academic performance, the real battleground over a reform plan might be the ease with which one can add and remove school desks in the city. At a forum Wednesday sponsored by the Michigan State University Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, there was much discussion about the financial state of the district and how it came to be.

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IPPSR Panel Illuminates Detroit School Reform Issues

MIRS Newsletter (January 20, 2016) — With talk that the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) will run out of funds as early as April, today’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) panel discussion on Detroit Public Schools: Quality, Accountability, and Governance resulted in a packed house with panelists offering different takes on what troubles the state’s largest district. Continue reading

Reform, accountability are solution for failing school districts

Pass early literacy legislation, letter grading system for schools; develop a dissolution plan for Detroit Public School District

LANSING, MI – The Great Lakes Education Project today called for the legislature to pass legislation dealing with K-3 reading proficiency and school accountability through an A-F letter grading system, along with a dissolution plan for the Detroit Public School District that allows for the phase in of school choice for all current students. Continue reading

GLEP: Dissolve Detroit Public School District to Protect Kids, Empower Parents

Detroit School Children Deserve Better as More Than 60 District Schools Close Due to Illegal “Sickouts”
LANSING, MI – The Great Lakes Education Project today called for the dissolution of the Detroit Public School District, as an illegal work stoppage shuttered half the District.  With over 60 school closings today in Detroit due to teacher “sickouts,” nearly half of Detroit Public School students have been forced out of the classroom, losing another day of learning.

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This Week & Next (Dec 18, 2015)

Legislature wraps up for the calendar year
The State Senate and House of Representatives have finished up their work for the year, and they are officially on recess until January 13, 2016. While there was much activity during the final days of session, none of the focus was on K-12 education issues.  We expect to kick-start the debate on passing HB 4822 (K-3 Reading) in the Senate when they return on January 13. By the way, please click here to read Rep. Price’s strong defense of HB 4822 in MLive.

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Anti-Choice Religious Bigotry

Using a law with ugly anti-Catholic roots to deny education options for children.

WSJMichael Bindas, The Wall Street Journal

December 10, 2015 — Anti-Catholicism has been called America’s last acceptable prejudice. Acceptable or not, it is enshrined in the constitutions of more than half the U.S. states. Inspired by the original 1875 congressional supporter, James Blaine, state “Blaine” amendments barred funding for “sectarian” schools, which in Protestant America at the time meant Catholic schools. Continue reading

This Week & Next (Dec 11, 2015)

President Obama signs ESSA to replace ESEA/NCLB
Yesterday, President Obama signed into law S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces the outdated Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) laws, which expired years ago. ESSA was passed by the Senate (85-12) on Wednesday and by the House (359-64 ) last week. This bill provides additional flexibility for states to use computer adaptive testing for accountability, and in selecting intervention strategies for the poorest-performing schools. Click here to read more about ESSA.

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