Betsy DeVos & Michigan Education

By Jim Barrett | December 18, 2016 | Lansing State Journal

Much has been written in the national media lately about President-Elect Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos to become the U.S. Education Secretary, and the role she’s played in education reform in Michigan. Most of these national media accounts are overly simplistic and just wrong, and as someone who has worked closely with Betsy DeVos for decades, I’m here to set the record straight.

We must begin with a common understanding of how poorly our school systems are performing. Today, less than 50% of Michigan’s K-8 students are proficient in any grade or any subject, and less than 20% of our high school juniors are considered prepared for college or meaningful careers. Despite the fact Michigan is a top-10 state for education spending, we’re a bottom-10 state in terms of performance. Continue reading

This Week & Next (Dec 16, 2016)

Support Builds for Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary
As you likely know, Betsy DeVos has been nominated to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Education.  Ms. DeVos has devoted 28 years of passionate advocacy to help improve educational outcomes for all children. Despite efforts of the far left, the teachers’ unions and the defenders of the status quo to paint Betsy DeVos in a negative light, the following are a few of the positive media stories and endorsements she has received: Continue reading

This Week & Next (Nov 23, 2016)

Betsy DeVos Nominated as Education Secretary
President-Elect Donald Trump announced this afternoon he will nominate Betsy DeVos, GLEP board member, to become the U.S. Secretary of Education. Those of us who work closely with Ms. DeVos are enthusiastically supportive of her taking on this important role with the new Administration.  Ms. DeVos, also the founder and Chair of the The American Federation for Children, has devoted 28 years of passionate advocacy to help improve educational outcomes for all children.

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49 of 53 Endorsed Candidates Win in General Election

Education advocacy group pleased with 93% success rate, looking forward to new legislative session

Lansing, MI – The Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) announced that 49 of 53 candidates endorsed by the education advocacy group were successful in yesterday’s general election for the Michigan House of Representatives. GLEP-endorsed candidates winning yesterday include 25 re-elected incumbents and 24 new legislators. Continue reading

This Week & Next (Nov 4, 2016)

Tuesday is the General Election, Don’t Forget to Vote!!
As if you needed another reminder that Tuesday is election day, right? With all 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives up for grabs in the general election, however, it’s very important to make your voices heard and cast your ballots. The outcome of these House elections will have a significant impact on public policy issues, including education reform, for the next two years in the state. Below is a list of 53 House candidates endorsed by GLEP:

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This Week & Next (Oct 28, 2016)

Database: Meet all 63 school board candidates, warts and all
To help Detroiters cast informed votes for board members in Detroit’s public schools, Bridge Magazine, the Detroit Free Press, Fox 2 Detroit and WDET Detroit Public Radio spent two months reviewing court documents, property records, voting histories, tax liens and other public records. Reporters also asked the 63 candidates to answer a questionnaire and to send in resumes. Among the findings:

  • 12 candidates filed bankruptcy
  • 14 candidates lost properties for failing to pay taxes or mortgages
  • 28 candidates were sued for unpaid bills and defaulted or agreed to make payments
  • None of the candidates appears to have a criminal record.

Use the searchable database to see the findings on each candidate, including their answers to questions about their priorities.

This Week & Next (Oct 21, 2016)

NAACP passes controversial charter moratorium
A controversial Oct. 15 resolution passed by the national board of the NAACP calling for a nationwide moratorium on public charter public schools has led many lawmakers and school-choice advocates to question whether the NAACP is more beholden to powerful lobbies supporting traditional public schools than to the African-American families the organization claims to represent. Response was strong and vocal from across the political spectrum and across the country. It’s not just here in Michigan, folks, but isn’t it frustrating that adult politics continues to get in the way of providing better opportunities for students?

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This Week & Next (Oct 14, 2016)

National media and ed reform leaders say NAACP charter moratorium is wrong
This week, a slew of national media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, published editorials opposing the NAACP’s proposed moratorium on charter public schools which is scheduled to be voted on at their national Board of Directors meeting in Cincinnati this weekend.  According to the NYT, “Sound research has shown that, when properly managed and overseen, well­ run charter schools give families a desperately needed alternative to inadequate traditional schools in poor urban neighborhoods.” We’re not aware of ANY newspapers that have editorialized in favor of the proposed moratorium.

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This Week & Next (Oct 7, 2016)

Governor Snyder signs K-3 Reading bill into law
Yesterday, GLEP was pleased to participate in the official bill signing ceremony with Governor Snyder for HB 4822 (Price), the K-3 Reading bill. This bill, which goes into effect in the 2017-18 school year, will require annual screenings, parental notification and engagement, personalized Reading Improvement Plans, along with interventions and support for struggling readers. The state has allocated $100 million per year in new funds last year and this year to address early literacy and support the interventions included in the new law. GLEP was one of the original stakeholder supporters of the K-3 reading bill, and we’re excited about what this reform will mean in terms of improved academic performance for thousands of students in Michigan.

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