This Week & Next (July 22, 2016)

State to adopt A-F letter grading accountability system
Kids get letter grades. Soon schools will, too. The Michigan Department of Education is preparing to launch a new accountability system that will call for assigning letter grades of A-F to schools and districts — a system that has been controversial nationwide and is being used in more than a dozen states. The new system will be a far cry from how the state now evaluates schools, using a color-coded system (the “Rainbow Report Card”) — that many describe as confusing to parents and educators. GLEP strongly supports using an A-F system that balances proficiency and individual student growth, and we’re happy to be participating in the Superintendent’s work group here. Continue reading


This Week & Next: (July 15, 2016)

Lansing “Snooze Fest” as legislature continues summer break
Given that both the Senate and House are on a summer recess that will last until after Labor Day, it’s a slow-moving world in and around Lansing these days. We hope you’ll understand that we’ll have abbreviated versions of our weekly newsletter until the fall, and we might even skip a week or two along the way. But know that TEAM GLEP is busy working to expand school choice by supporting endorsed candidates for the House of Representatives. Be on the lookout for us all over the state (We’ll be easier to spot than Pokemon GO characters)!!
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This Week & Next (July 8, 2016)

GLEP takes on The New York Times
In a guest editorial viewpoint published this week, GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert corrected a number of incorrect statements in the recent New York Times story trashing Detroit’s charter school sector. Naeyaert commented that the Times’ article leads one to believe the existence of charter public schools and school choice is somehow the cause of poor academic performance in the city. To the contrary, charter schools serve as life rafts for parents fed up with the historic and chronic failure of DPS, a system rife with graft, corruption and greed as too many adults have been literally stealing the futures of thousands of school children for decades. You might also want to read Jay Greene’s provocative blog post titled “Grasping at Straws Over Detroit’s Charter Schools. Continue reading


This Week & Next (July 1, 2016)

Governor Signs FY ’17 School Aid Budget
Governor Snyder signed into law the FY ’17 School Aid Budget earlier this week, prior to the start of the school fiscal year which begins today. The key issue in the budget is that per-pupil investments are increasing by $60-$120 per pupil for next school year.  In a budget of over $14 billion, however, nearly the entire focus of the media and local school groups is on the paltry $2.5 million appropriated to reimburse private schools for the health and safety mandates required by the state. While a number of lawsuits are likely, in the end we believe these expenditures will be found to be just as constitutional as those allowing for state funding to cover transportation costs and the teaching of non-core subjects for students in private schools. Continue reading


GLEP Endorses 19 Candidates in 2016 House Campaigns

Leading education advocacy group makes additional campaign endorsements

 Lansing, MI – The Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) today announced endorsements for candidates in 19 races 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


This Week & Next (June 24, 2016)

Governor Signs DPS Rescue Bills
On Tuesday this week Governor Snyder signed the $617 million package of bills intended to rescue the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) from financial and academic ruin. The six-bill package pays off the accumulated $467 million in DPS operational debt (plus $48 million appropriated in May for a total of $515 million); provides $150 million in transition costs to cover cash flow and building repair needs in the district; returns the district to an elected board of directors after the November election; and eliminates the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) by presumably returning these failing schools to the district. Continue reading


GLEP Endorses 25 Incumbents in 2016 House Campaigns

Leading education advocacy group makes first round of campaign endorsements

Lansing, MI (Tuesday, June 21, 2016) – The Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) today announced endorsements in 25 re-election campaigns for incumbent members of the Michigan House of Representatives.

“We’re confident each of these incumbent legislators will continue to be forceful advocates and champions for children in the Michigan House of Representatives, and we’re pleased to endorse and support their re-election campaigns,” said Gary Naeyaert, GLEP Executive Director. Continue reading


This Week & Next (June 17, 2016)

Governor Prepares to Sign DPS Rescue Bills
As Governor Snyder prepares to sign the $617 million package of bills recently passed by the legislature to rescue the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) from financial and academic ruin, the fallout continues from folks on both sides of the issue. A few days ago the Detroit News told us the DPS deal offers hope to the district, and they also had a pretty good story abouthow the final deal came together, while today the Executive Office released a video in conjunction with the guest editorial viewpoint from John Walsh, Strategy Director for the Governor, in which he says the compromise bills are certainly much better than a Continue reading


This Week & Next (June 10, 2016)

Senate Passes DPS Reform Bills; Governor Pledges to Sign
On Wednesday evening the State Senate passed a $617 million package of bills to address the financial and academic crisis in Detroit Public Schools (DPS). The primary policy bill in the package is HB 5384 (Garcia), which passed on a 19-18 vote, and the “YES” votes came from the following Republican Senators: Booher, Brandenburg, Green, Hildenbrand, Horn, Hune, Jones, Knollenberg, Kowall, MacGregor, Marleau, Meekhof, Nofs, O’Brien, Proos, Robertson, Shirkey, Stamas and Zorn. Other bills in the package include HB 5383, 5387 and SB 711, 820 & 822. Here are the key features in the Senate-passed bills: Continue reading


GLEP on passage of DPS reform bills in the State Senate

Lansing, MI — “Rather than face chaos and uncertainty in the fall, over 115,000 students in Detroit will have access to more opportunities for a brighter future thanks to the Michigan Senate, which voted tonight to preserve school choice and quality options in K-12 education,” said Gary Naeyaert, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP). Continue reading