This Week & Next (Feb 27, 2015)

GLEP Testifies on Key Priorities in House Education Committee
Yesterday, Gary Naeyaert, GLEP Executive Director, testified before the House Education Committee, along with MAPSA, MCCSA and Students First-MI on our key policy priorities for the new legislative session. GLEP focused on Early Literacy, School Accountability, Fair Funding, School Choice, MPSERS, and Teacher Quality. You can click here to read GLEP’s priorities, and click here to access video from yesterday’s hearing. GLEP’s 20-minute “entertaining and interesting” testimony begins at the 35:15 mark of the video (NOTE: Video and audio play will on Internet Explorer and Safari, with Audio-only in Chrome). 

U.S. House Passes NCLB Reauthorization Bill
The full U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass HR 5, the Student Success Act, a bill to reauthorize ESEA/NCLB, TODAY in Washington, D.C.  Key features of this important legislation include significantly scaling back the role of the federal government in overseeing public education, giving states more flexibility in designing accountability systems; consolidating dozens of federal education programs; and block grant funding to allow states to distribute federal money to districts and schools as they see fit. GLEP is hopeful Congress will also require that Title I and SPED funds follow students to the school of their choice. Despite wild exaggerations from some, you can click here for a fairly rational column on how NCLB reauthorization will actually impact minority students. Click herefor a short video message from U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop (R-8th District) on the bill.

Are there too many school districts in Michigan?
In the early 1900’s, there were over 7,300 local school districts in Michigan, and today we have roughly 850 school districts (550 traditional and 300 charter districts). Despite this dramatic reduction in the number of districts in the state, some vocal critics of charter schools have lamented the fact that enrollment and (inflation adjusted) revenue have been in decline for the past 20 years while the number of districts has been on the rise. The rise in the number of districts in the past two decades is largely due to the introduction of charter schools (each school is a “district” under state law). Most criticism assumes that we have fewer students but have continued to increase the cost of providing education through an increase in districts. The fault of this comparison, of course, is that districts come in all sizes, and a better comparison would be to look at enrollment and the number of school buildings, which as illustrated below indicates that our footprint for providing education has tracked very closely with enrollment. No story here, really.  Move on, please.Next Steps in Superintendent Search
The State Board of Education has set the following dates for public meetings to facilitate the selection process for a new State Superintendent:

  • Meeting with Search Firm to review candidates; March 3, 2015
  • Interview Semi-finalist Candidates; March 10-11, 2015
  • Interview Finalist Candidates; March 18, 2015

Click here for a guest editorial viewpoint on the search from Senator Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

Education Reform News Clips

GLEP in the News

Next Week

Monday, March 2

Tuesday, March 3

  • House School Aid Subcommittee – At-Risk & Title 1 funding; GLEP to provide testimony
  • Senate Education Committee
  • State Board of Education meeting re: Superintendent Search
  • Introductory meetings with new legislators

Wednesday, March 4

  • Senate School Aid/MDE Subcommittee – Career and Technical Education; GLEP to testify
  • Introductory meetings with new legislators

Thursday, March 5

  • Rep. Chatfield (R-Levering) Fundraising Reception
  • Joint House/Senate Appropriations Subcommittee – Supt. Flanagan on Deficit Districts
  • House Education Committee – ss
  • Introductory meetings with new legislators

Friday, March 6

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