This Week & Next (August 1, 2014)

Kesto and Jessup
August is “Opt Out” Month for MEA
With passage of “Freedom to Work” legislation in Michigan, union membership is no longer a requirement for holding a job in the state. But at the Michigan Education Association (MEA), their fine-print rules only allow a member to leave the union in August each year.  In order to provide information and assist members in exercising their rights, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has created the “August Opt Out” website, which provides easy-to-use forms to help school employees opt-out of the MEA.  Click here for a Detroit News column explaining the process.
August Opt Out
 
Supt. Flanagan Invites GLEP to Participate in Charter Authorizer Meeting
On Wednesday this week, Supt. Flanagan invited GLEP to participate in a meeting of education stakeholders to discuss authorizer accountability in the wake of the recent Detroit Free Press series. The goal of the process, is to improve accountability, transparency and academic performance for each authorizer’s portfolio of charter public schools.  GLEP is concerned that any effort here shouldn’t penalize schools that serve at-risk student populations, and that any accountability metrics be implemented for both traditional public schools as well as charter public schools. Click here for GLEP’s 3 key recommendations for Supt. Flanagan in his crackdown on poor quality schools.

Teachers Unions Target Snyder and Other GOP Governors
Teachers unions are struggling to protect their political clout, but as the midterm elections approach, they’re fighting back with their most popular asset: the teachers themselves. Backed by tens of millions in cash and new data mining tools that let them personalize pitches to voters, the unions are sending armies of educators to run a huge get-out-the-vote effort aimed at reversing the red tide that swept Republicans into power across the country in 2010. Click here to read more on this from Politico.

LSSU Brings Charter Students to Campus
Lake Superior State University’s charter school office hosted more than 120 students from 21 LSSU-authorized charter schools for a weeklong science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) camp that ran June 30-July 3. LSSU has been hosting charter school summer camps for more than ten years. This past summLSSU.STEAMer more than 400 charter school students attended ten dedicated camps that explored 14 disciplines, part of an effort to help students realize that college is an option open to them. In this picture, LSSU adjunct art professor Heidi Finley demonstrates paper marbling to LSSU charter school students in an Arts Center studio.

Are charter schools “lifeboats” or an “unproven experiment”?
On the latest “MiWMIWeekeek,” host Christy McDonald, Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson and Nolan Finley of the Detroit News debate charter schools in Michigan. The discussion comes in the wake of the Free Press’ investigative report on the state’s charter school system. Click here for the video.

Have an Opinion on Student Assessments? MDE Wants to Hear from YOU!!
GLEP participated in MDE’s public hearing on Wednesday to take testimony about the state’s plans for student assessments to replace the MEAP test after next year with a next-generation student assessment that measures both proficiency and individual student growth.  MDE has created an online survey to get your thoughts and opinions on this important issue. In the alternative, you can submit comments to 2016assessment@michigan.gov.

REMINDER: 56 “Champions for Kids” Need Your Support
Tuesday, August 5 is the primary election in Michigan, and GLEP’s 56 endorses candidates for the Michigan Legislature need your support!! Click here for the full list of our endorsed candidates.

UPDATE: Still No Superintendents Have Signed the “School Accountability Pledge”
MAPSA’s “School Accountability Pledge” is still available for signing by any traditional public school superintendent willing to operate under same accountability, transparency and oversight laws as Michigan’s charter public schools. We keep waiting for just one superintendent to sign it, and when they do we’ll let you know right away!

The Truth about Education Funding
GLEP’s new website, MiKidFirst.com provides “to the penny” state and local financial data for over 800+ school districts for FY 2012, 2013 and 2014. This site proves that funding, on a per student basis, has gone up by hundreds of dollars per student since Governor Snyder took office.

Education Reform News from Across the Country

GLEP in the News

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!!

Respectfully,
Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director
517-281-2690