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This Week & Next (Sept 23, 2016)

Legislature Passes K-3 Reading Bill
HB 4822, the K-3 Reading bill sponsored by Rep. Amanda Price (R-Lake Township) was passed (again) on Wednesday this week by both the full House of Representatives (60-47) and the State Senate (20-15), after a compromise bill was adopted by a joint conference committee on Tuesday evening on a 5-1 vote. GLEP has championed this bill since 2013 and strongly supported passage of this bill, which will now be presented to Governor Snyder for his expected signature. This bill will dramatically increase early reading proficiency in the state. Media coverage of this important bill was extensive, with key stories from the Detroit News, MLive, Gongwer, MIRS, and others.

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GLEP Applauds Passage of Early Literacy Bill

House and Senate approve (again) HB 4822, the K-3 reading bill

Lansing, MI (Sept 21, 2016)– Today the full State Senate and the House of Representatives voted to approve the joint conference committee report, on votes of 25-10 and 60-47, a compromise version of HB 4822, the K-3 reading bill sponsored by Rep. Amanda Price (R-Park Township), Chair of the House Education Committee.

“As the earliest proponent of improving early literacy, GLEP is pleased both the Senate and the House have voted (again) to pass HB 4822. This new law will improve early literacy by focusing on annual screening; parental notification and participation; targeted strategies and tutoring for struggling readers; and intensive intervention for students reading behind grade level,” said Gary Naeyaert, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP). Continue reading

"Scales of Justice" statue representing the Roman goddess of justice personifying moral force. (Photo via wikimedia commons)

This Week & Next (Sept 16, 2016)

Legislative leaders request Attorney General opinion on failing schools
Senator Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and House Speaker Kevin Cotter have officially requested a legal opinion from Attorney General Bill Schuette on whether the State Reform Office has the statutory authority to close chronically-failing schools in Detroit. Click here to download the official request. Needless to say, GLEP agrees the legislature only passed the $667 million “bailout” of DPS with the expectation that increased accountability would occur this year. House Speaker Kevin Cotter explained his view quite well on Michigan Radio this week. Meanwhile, Supt Brian Whiston has his own ideas how the state should work with failing schools, and it doesn’t include using the State Reform Office. That’s an interesting approach that would require significant changes in state law, of course.

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GLEP Endorses 12 More Candidates in 2016 House Campaigns

Lansing, MI – The Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) today announced endorsements of an additional 12 candidates for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2016.

“We’re confident these candidates will be forceful advocates for children in the legislature, and we’re pleased to endorse and support their campaigns,” said Gary Naeyaert, GLEP Executive Director.  Candidates endorsed today by GLEP include the following: Continue reading

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This Week & Next (Sept 9, 2016)

Senator Meekhof and Speaker Cotter May Seek Attorney General Opinion on SRO
The Legislature’s top two leaders said this week they’ll consider asking Attorney General Bill Schuette to involve himself in a dispute between lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder over how soon some of the worst schools in Detroit could be closed. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, and House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, have both said Detroit’s public schools can still be closed immediately if they have been among the state’s 5 percent lowest-performing public schools for three straight years.

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This Week & Next (Sept 2, 2016)

SRO (finally) releases 2015 “Bottom 5%” list
Yesterday, the State Reform Office (SRO) finally released the 2015 “Bottom 5%” list of the 124 schools that are the poorest performing in the state, based on results from the 2015 M-STEP test. You see, even though this particular test was taken over a year ago, and despite a statutory requirement to publish this list annually, MDE made the decision NOT to publish a “Bottom 5%” list last year because it was the first year using the new M-STEP assessment.

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M-STEP Results A Shocking Assessment of Education

Stagnant results highlight up-hill challenge facing our school systems, proves need for K-3 Reading, A-F Accountability and intervention in failing schools

Lansing, MI: The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) today released results from the spring 2016 M-STEP and SAT assessments given to all Michigan students earlier this year.

“Having only one grade and subject where at least 50% of our students are considered proficient is a shocking assessment of the state of education in Michigan,” said Gary Naeyaert, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP).  “In order for Michigan to continue our economic comeback, we simply must do a better job of educating our youth,” Naeyaert continued. Continue reading

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This Week & Next (Aug 26, 2016)

Locals threaten legal action to avoid accountability
You’d have to be living in a cave to not catch the battle brewing over whether failing schools in the state should be closed, which is an option outstate (and a requirement in Detroit) under state law. Despite a call from Governor Snyder to calm down, Chris Wigent, leader of the association representing school superintendents and Don Wotruba, leader of the association representing school boards, announced they will seek any available option, including litigation, to oppose efforts by the State Reform Office to intervene in chronically-failing schools.

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This Week & Next (Aug 19, 2016)

Michigan’s worst schools: To close or not to close?
Last week we told you a battle was brewing over whether failing schools in the state should be closed, which is an option available under state law. Well, the intensity picked up some steam this week. The Detroit News heralded the decision; GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert discussed it on WILS 1320 AM with Dave Akerly, and the following is a sample of media reports from this week:

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Austin: Baker Is Out Of Control

MIRS Newsletter – August 18, 2016: State Board of Education President John AUSTIN said the state’s school reform officer is “out of control” by, at the very least, insinuating in conversations with local school officials that academically low-performing schools will be shut down by June 2017 (See “SRO Mentions Closing Failing Schools As Meetings With Locals Begin,” 8/5/16). Continue reading