On Tuesday, it was reported that Gulfstream was awarded $240,000 in college scholarships for graduates at the West Michigan Aviation Academy, one of the state’s most innovative public high schools in the state. Congrats to WMAA!!
On Wednesday, GLEP had the opportunity to testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on K-12, School Aid & Education. The focus of our testimony was on equitable funding and the impact of MPSERS. GLEP urged the committee to focus on funding children rather than districts and to continue closing the $1,000 per-pupil funding equity gap in the state. See the picture below about four students in Ingham County and the injustice of the current system. In a nutshell, by prioritizing 90% of state/local operational funds in the foundation grant, the legislature could provide $8,266 per year for all 1.5 million students in the state. Click here to access our full testimony.
Despite widespread public acceptance of choice and charters, it’s very frustrating to hear prominent folks continue to bash the charter sector in the media. According to Tonya Allen, President of the Skillman Foundation, “Michigan has some of the most lax policy around public schools and charter schools in the country…a marketplace that’s not regulated. So, in my opinion, it’s not improving schools; it’s weakening schools.” We (respectfully) disagree. Click here to read the full interview in Bridge Magazine.
Dr. Deb Ball, Dean of the UM School of Education, was scheduled to testify in support of HB 5223, the teacher evaluation bill, in the House Education Committee on Wednesday. The committee was cancelled, however, and they’ll pick it up again next week.
In case you’re wondering why we need a new Teacher Evaluation system in the state, check out this article showing how districts are simply rating every teacher as “effective” to avoid the impact of recent tenure reform that require layoffs to be based on effectiveness rather than seniority. Clever trick, eh!? According to Rep. Ken Yonker (R-Caledonia), a member of the House Education Committee, “As we have heard for three years, education is not about student success, it is about adult comfort,” he said. “They spend more time worrying about adults being protected.” Spot on, Rep. Yonker!!
Today the Citizens Research Council of Michigan hosted a webinar to explain Governor Snyder’s proposed $51.2 million budget for FY 2015. Email me if you’d like a copy of their presentation materials.
ICYMI: The Education Committee in Alaska House of Representatives passed HJR 1 this past week, which would amend the state constitution and pave the way for tax dollars to be used by students seeking private education. If passed by the full legislature it will be on the statewide ballot this fall. This is certainly something we’ll be watching very closely, as 19 states currently allow for full educational choice for students.
ICYMI: Geoffrey Canada, Founder and CEO of the Harlem’s Children Zone, has announced his retirement – but will be staying on the Board of Directors. A true visionary and passionate advocate for kids, he will be missed in the day-to-day battles over improving educational outcomes for at-risk children.
The Saginaw Board of Education was given an one-week extension from MDE to submit a workable deficit reduction plan, and they are poised to vote Monday on a plan to that may include right-sizing the district through some building closures.
On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee will continue their examination of equity in school funding. Have we mentioned GLEP’s recommendation to create a uniform state foundation grant of $8,266 per pupil – which could easily be done by investing 90% of state/local operational funds in the foundation grant and holding categorical spending to 10%?
Gary G. Naeyaert