This Week & Next (Aug 21, 2015)

K-3 Reading Bill Formally Introduced; Hearing Sept 3 in Grand Rapids
On Tuesday, HB 4822 (Price), the K-3 Reading bill, was formally introduced in the House of Representatives.  The bill is co-sponsored by a bi-partisan majority of House Education Committee members, which is an excellent indicator of its likely success in the legislature. The bill will improve early literacy by focusing on early annual screening; parental notification and participation; targeted strategies and tutoring for struggling readers; and intensive intervention for those students reading dramatically behind grade level. Hearings on the bill are likely to be held in September, and GLEP understands an initial hearing will take place in Grand Rapids on Thursday, September 3. Rep. Price also introduced HB 4823, a bill to require new teachers to receive field experience in the diagnosis and remediation of reading disabilities. GLEP strongly supports both of these bills.

Revisit the 2015 Education Summit
This past Wednesday, August 19, was the 2015 New Hampshire Education Summit, a full-day event co-hosted by the American Federation for Children and The 74 Million. The summit featured six GOP Presidential candidates (Bush, Walker, Fiorina, Jindal, Kasich and Christie) and each spent 45 minutes discussing education issues with Campbell Brown. Click here for an archive of key videos from the summit.

Capitol Update: House returns
In addition to the introduction of HB 4822 (Price), the K-3 reading bill, the Michigan House of Representatives was back in town this week. Almost all of the policy focus was on House leadership and members working to find an acceptable compromise on road funding legislation. Alas, the House was unable to come to a conclusion and adjourned on Wednesday evening. The legislature will be back in session after Labor Day.

GLEP Calls for Charter Quality Reform
As a result of recent Town Hall Meetings across the state, GLEP joined other education stakeholder groups (MAPSA, Students First, and Michigan Authorizers) in a joint editorial viewpoint published by the Detroit Free Press on how to improve charter school quality in the state. We advocate for an A-F letter grading school accountability system, high standards for authorizers and an end to “authorizer shopping” by failing schools.

Majority of Public Schools Privatize Services
There are more Michigan public schools contracting out food, custodial or transportation services than ever, according to the Mackinac Center’s latest survey of school districts. This year, 70.8 percent of school districts use private-sector vendors to clean buildings, get kids to school, or cook and serve school meals. This is up from 66.6 percent the previous year.
MDE Seeks Public Input on Science and Social Studies Standards
On Wednesday this week, MDE announced the department’s plan to request public input in September on proposed new Science and Social Studies standards for K-12 education in the state. The proposed updates to the state standards have been developed and reviewed by science and social studies education experts from Michigan and around the nation, including K-12 teachers, and college and university professors. MDE will use the public comment to help finalize the proposed standards before they are adopted and integrated into local classrooms, with professional learning supports for local educators. Click here for the MDE press release, which includes dates, times and locations of public meetings.

Education News Clips


Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director