This Week & Next (Aug 15, 2014)

Supt. Flanagan Puts 11 Authorizers “At Risk” of Suspension; SBE calls for new legislation
On Monday, Superintendent Flanagan announced that 11 charter authorizers were “at risk” of suspension, however, NONE of the standards included in the Supt. Flanagan’s initial review of authorizers are included in current statute, which specifies the Superintendent may suspend an authorizers’ ability to issue additional charters if he finds they have not provided “appropriate continuing oversight” to their schools. It seems MDE is confusing authorizer oversight with individual school performance – as Supt. Flanagan has ranked authorizers based on school-level academic and financial performance.  The state already has processes in place to address academic and fiscal performance, and these systems impact all traditional and public charter schools.  It seems unfair to write the rules of the game in secret and then tell authorizers after the fact that they’ve failed. At Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting, the Democratic members of the board passed a resolution urging the Legislature to dramatically reduce charter school opportunities in the state.

  • Click here to read the Minority (GOP) Response to the SBE Resolution.
  • Click here to read the Detroit Free Press Editorial of August 14.

MDE Releases New “Rainbow Report Card”; Support for A-F Letter Grading Grows
On Wednesday this week, the MDE released the annual school accountability rankings, which we affectionately refer to as the “Rainbow Report Card,” to inform stRainbow Report Cardakeholders of how our public schools are performing. Just as last year, the confusing and convoluted system of assigning up to 6 colors in dozens of categories does little more than confuse people about actual school performance. GLEP supports passage of HB 5112 (Lyons), the simple A-F Letter Grading accountability system which measures schools based on academic proficiency and student growth.

August is Still “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 August Opt Outyear.  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.

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.

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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