This Week & Next (Apr 22, 2016)

DPS Reform Debate Heats Up
It’s getting chippier than a Red Wings playoff game as various stakeholders turn up the volume on the pros and cons of various legislative proposals to provide a $715 million bailout of DPS and to determine what will be left standing when the financial crisis is addressed. As you know, GLEP continues to advocate for parental choice to be maintained, for taxpayer dollars to be protected and for chronically-failing traditional and charter public schools to receive uniform intervention from the state. Continue reading


This Week & Next (Apr 15, 2016)

Speaker Cotter Agrees with GLEP on DPS & K-3 Reading
House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) said yesterday he doesn’t envision the House approving the Detroit Education Commission as currently outlined in Senate DPS bills because he’s concerned there’s an incentive to treat charter schools unfairly in the process. Cotter said he is having conversations on a DPS plan, and while he understands the need for a body to decide the location of some schools, he opposes the Senate version. He said under the bills, DPS would be working to get out from state oversight, and the commission may have some incentive to close charter schools to get those students – and their foundation allowances – into the DPS system. “I get the concept as far as to have some central body or organization to be able to make decisions as to where schools are located and which schools are open, and I get that,” he told reporters after House session. “However my concern about the DEC as currently written is there is a – maybe unintended – but I think there is a bit of an incentive for charters to not be treated fairly in that decision-making process.” Continue reading


Naeyaert & Henderson Debate DPS

Is it Time to Get Rid of Detroit Public Schools in Favor of All Charters?

As state lawmakers debate a $700 million bailout to avert the financial collapse of Detroit Public Schools – some Republicans say it’s time to just get rid of the state’s largest school district altogether. In a recent op-ed in the Detroit News, Republican state Representative Tim Kelly of Saginaw Township wrote:

We shouldn’t sentence another generation of Detroit students to certain failure while selfish adults figure out ways to game the system in a new, but still corrupt and failing, school district.”

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This Week & Next (Apr 8, 2016)

DEC becomes the focus of DPS Debate
A recent addition to the pending legislation overhauling Detroit Public Schools is rekindling a long controversy on whether the charter school model of education itself has succeeded in Detroit. The proposed Detroit Education Commission, as written into the bill package that cleared the Senate last month, could decide where and whether schools can locate or expand in Detroit and set the criteria for closing any schools that under perform. The House expects to take up the reform legislation after it returns from recess next week. But groups like the Michigan Association of Public School Academies and the Great Lakes Education Project that advocate for charters and school choice have already gone on an offensive against the commission in talks with legislators and the media, calling it a threat to choice and a panel beholden to Detroit’s mayor and the traditional school district for its own future. Click here to continue reading this Crain’s Detroit Business article.  Continue reading

RT - KidsReading

This Week & Next (Apr 1, 2016)

Key Issues in K-3 Reading Bill
Michigan’s K-3 Reading bill (HB 4822) has been referred to a joint House-Senate conference committee for additional negotiations. The bill is a comprehensive approach to early literacy that focuses on annual assessments, targeted interventions, and parental involvement for struggling readers.  Conference committee members are Representatives Kevin Cotter, Amanda Price and Adam Zemke; and Senators Phil Pavlov, Geoff Hanson and David Knezek.  Once this committee develops a final bill, it will be voted up or down by both legislative chambers. From GLEP’s perspective, there are four key issues to be addressed in the conference: Continue reading


This Week & Next (Mar 25, 2016)

K-3 Reading bill passes in Senate, House sends it to Conference Committee
On Tuesday, HB 4822, the K-3 Reading bill, was voted out of the Senate Education Committee on a 4-1 vote and was subsequently passed in the full Senate on a 31-6 vote on Wednesday. While we appreciate the quick work in the Senate, the bill was modified to allow 3rd graders who still read at a 1st grade level to be promoted to 4th grade if so requested by a parent, teacher, principal or superintendent. Given these changes, the House of Representatives voted yesterday (59-49) not to concur with the changes in the Senate-passed version, which sends the bill to a House-Senate Conference Committee for additional negotiation. The goal of the bill is to increase third-grade reading proficiency by focusing on early annual assessments, parental involvement and targeted interventions for struggling readers. Continue reading

$50 Million Check

This Week & Next (Mar 18, 2016)

House Passes $50 million “mini-bailout” for DPS
The House Appropriations Committee and the full House of Representatives passed both HB 5296 (Pscholka) and HB 5385 (Poleski) on Wednesday and Thursday this week. HB 5296 is a FY ’16 supplemental appropriations bill which provides $50 million to cash-strapped DPS, which means the district will not run out of money during the current school year. HB 5385 extends the responsibility of the Detroit Financial Review Commission to include supervising the finances for DPS. The full $715 million bailout and
other Detroit education reform bills are still in committee. Bridge Magazine asked if the full DPS bailout is little more than a band aid. During Wednesday’s hearing a number of

This Week & Next (Mar 11, 2016)

Senate Education Committee takes up K-3 reading bill
HB 4822, the K-3 Reading bill, had a hearing in the Senate Education Committee, Chaired by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair Township). The bill sponsor, Rep. Amanda Price (R-Park Township) testified with John Kennedy, Chair of the Gov. Rick Snyder’s Third Grade Reading Task Force, on the key features of the bill, which will increase third-grade reading proficiency by focusing on early and annual assessments, parental involvement and targeted interventions for struggling readers.  Among a number of interest groups, GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert testified this week, supporting the bill and requesting both

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GLEP Testimony on HB 4822

Senate Education Committee | March 8, 2016


  • Good Afternoon, Chairman Pavlov and members of the Senate Education Committee.
  • Improving early literacy is one of the most important issues in K-12 education, and more than 35 states have developed comprehensive K-3 reading programs. Newly-appointed State Superintendent Brian Whiston said in his first podcast how important 3rd grade reading is for the state.

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This Week & Next (Mar 4, 2016)

DPS reform bills debated (at length) in the House Appropriations Committee
The full House Appropriations Committee held two additional hearings last week focusing on the “Putting Students First” 6-bill package of Detroit education reform bills. Testifying in Wednesday morning’s hearing was John Walsh, Strategy Director for Governor Snyder, and Tonya Allen and John Rakolta, Co-Chairs of the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, and Rick Joseph, Michigan Teacher of the Year. Walsh, Allen and Rakolta