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.

The Detroit News has correctly identified that much of this contentious debate here has to do with creation of the Detroit Education Commission and their control over charter public schools in the future. And kudos to Michigan Capitol Confidential for uncovering the plan by the City of Detroit to prohibit the sale of empty DPS buildings to charter s
chools. The Detroit News editorial page also asks how can Mayor Duggan and the DEC be governance neutral when the charter school operators are barred from purchasing empty DPS buildings? [NOTE: We’ll have more on this next week!!]

On the other side, Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor of The Detroit Free Press, published a lengthy column that included an anti-GLEP rant that included calling Gary Naeyaert a messianic bigot and some other things we can’t say in polite company. Dan Varner, executive director of Excellent Schools Detroit, went to the airwaves to call our Gary Naeyaert a liar and to say GLEP is irrelevant in the debate over education in Detroit.   All this and there wasn’t a single legislative committee hearing on DPS bills this past week.

DPS.Humpty_Dumpty (2)

Craig Ruff returns as Governor’s Education Advisor
Craig Ruff, a former senior policy fellow with Lansing-based Public Sector Consultants, will re-join Governor Rick Snyder’s office May 16 as his Education Advisor, a position he held until he retired last year. He replaces Karen McPhee, Snyder’s former education adviser, who resigned for personal reasons April 1 after one year in the position. Prior to joining Snyder’s office, she was superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, where she had worked since 1984. Besides the proposed DPS debt restructuring plan, Ruff is expected to also work on the governor’s recently announced 21st Century Education Commission. Welcome Back, Craig!!

New Study Shows Charter Graduates Have Better Adult Outcomes
From a recent story in US News & World Reports, researchers wanted to know if charter public schools (taxpayer funded but privately operated) are better at educating kids than traditional public schools. It’s a vexing question. Some charter school chains, such as Success Academy in New York City, boast impressively high test scores. But it’s unclear if high-achieving children from devoted families would have done just as well in their neighborhood schools. The research shows mixed results. Five years ago, one group of researchers found that charter school students across Chicago and the whole state of Florida scored slightly worse on math tests than their public high school counterparts. Their reading scores were about the same. But last week, the same group of researchers produced a follow-up study the Florida students, published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and it showed something startling: the charter students might not have produced higher test scores when they were in school, but years later, when they were in their mid-20s, the charter school students earned more money, and were more likely to have attended at least two years of college (although still only half of them did so). Click here to read more on this research from Mathematica.

How Should States Set Up Accountability Systems?
Under the newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act, all states will be responsible for designing their own statewide accountability systems. Although there are some federal parameters on what and how measures must be included in those systems, states have considerable latitude in how they go about creating accountability systems that work for them. In order to learn more about what states should think about in this process, EducationNext’s Chad Aldeman reached out to Christy Hovanetz, a Senior Policy Fellow for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and one of the nation’s leading experts on school rating systems. Click here to eavesdrop on their recent conversation.

How Does Competition Impact K-12 Education?
States have been charged with doing more with less in recent years. But productivity in any sector is never achieved by chastising or cajoling. Advances in the efficient delivery of a high-quality service are most likely to occur in response to strong incentives. Competition for student enrollment provides exactly this type of pressure on schools. In a 1983 edition of Newsweek, Milton Friedman said “The only solution is to break the monopoly, introduce competition, and give the customers alternatives.” A new report from the Friedman Foundation takes a deep dive into that proposal by documenting how much and what types of competition currently exist in K–12 education, predicting which forms of competition are most likely to generate pressures for improvement in K–12 education, and brainstorming policy attributes that will maximize the effectiveness of competition-based education reforms. Click here for more information on this report.

Legislative Committee Update
On Tuesday morning the Senate Education Committee heard a presentation from Randy Liepa, Superintendent for Wayne RESA, and Mike DeVought, Superintendent of Macomb Intermediate School District, on failing schools.  These Superintendents discussed a proposal to have ISD’s take on the responsibility to assist poor-performing schools, rather than intervention from the State Reform Office. Tuesday afternoon a packed Senate Education Committee took testimony on the Armenian Genocide and SB 826 (Colbeck), a bill to repeal the state’s college and career ready standards. On Thursday the House Education Committee continued to take testimony, including another appearance from Lt. Governor Brian Calley, on a package of bills to promote the use of positive behavior strategies rather than seclusion and restraint in K-12 classrooms.

Check out new education news website in Detroit
Chalkbeat Detroit is a new education news site in Michigan, which is an expansion of Chalkbeat sites in New York, Colorado, Indiana and Tennessee. Managed by Erin Einhorn, a Michigan native and journalist, this site specializes in taking a deeper dive on education policy issues. Click here to subscribe to Chalkbeat Detroit.

GLEP candidate questionnaire available online
Roughly 415 candidates have filed to run for the 110 seats of the State House of Representative which will be decided in August primary elections and the November general election this year. There are 40 open seats in what will be a high-turnout Presidential year election cycle. If you know someone running for State Representative this year, click here to access the GLEP candidate questionnaire. Candidates are only considered for endorsement by GLEP if they return the questionnaire.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday, April 25

Tuesday, April 26

  • Senate Education Committee
  • 1:1 meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform

Wednesday, April 27

  • 1:1 meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform

Thursday, April 28

  • House Education Committee
  • 1:1 meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform

Friday, April 29

Do you support what GLEP is doing to improve education in Michigan? Please consider making a donation to help us continue our efforts, and all contributions are very much appreciated!!

Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director