This Week & Next (Feb 6, 2015)

House Republicans Support Top GLEP Priorities
Yesterday, House Speaker Kevin Cotter announced the House GOP Action Plan of legislative priorities for 2015-16. In terms of education issues, among their key priorities are the following:

  • Improving early literacy through grade level reading;
  • A-F letter grading system for school accountability;
  • Teacher and administrator evaluations;
  • Education Savings Accounts (ESA) for special needs children; and
  • Authorizer accreditation.

We’re pleased since each of these are also top priorities for GLEP, which you can read here.

Double Dipping Bill Gets Hearing
When the legislature passed teacher tenure reform a few years ago, the ability of retired school employees to simply be re-hired in their old positions was limited to only areas of “critical shortages” as determined by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and only for 2 years. Since this change occurred, the traditional school lobby has been working overtime to get around these restrictions and expand double-dipping. Well, they didn’t take very long as the House Financial Liability Reform Committee had a hearing this past Wednesday on HB 4059 (Rep. Hughes), a bill to end the restrictions on double-dipping in current law. Every school lobbyist and interest group was publicly supportive of the bill in the hearing, and we expect the committee to vote out the bill next week.

Initial Hearing on School Aid Budget; Chairman Kelly on Equity
Yesterday, a joint committee meeting of the House Education Committee; the House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid; and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Education was held. The primary purpose of the meeting was for Bethany Wicksall from the House Fiscal Agency to present details the School Aidand MDE Budgets.  Governor Snyder will kick-off the annual budget process when he presents his recommended FY ’16 Budget on February 11. Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township), the new Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid, conducted a recent radio interview in which he pledged his support for a uniform foundation grant for all students. As this is GLEP’s #1 priority in the school aid budget, we were very pleased to hear the Chairman’s strong support for equity.

Rankings, Report Cards and School Accountability
Are you confused as we are about all the different report cards, rankings and analysis of school performance in the state? Between the MDE’s “Top To Bottom” Ranking, the Rainbow Report Card and the Focus/Reward/Priority schools; Bridge Magazine’s 2014 Academic State Champs; the Mackinac Center’s ranking and the Excellent Schools Detroit Report, it’s enough to make a parent go crazy. That’s why GLEP supports scrapping the existing school accounting systems and instituting a parent-friendly, data-driven system that provides a simple A-F letter grade to schools based on the academic proficiency and growth of their students. We’re glad the Senate Republicans have made this a priority policy issue, and we’ll keep working to make it a reality.

Saginaw Flip Flops on Selling Building to Charter?
It appears the Saginaw Public Schools may be re-thinking their decision to demolish 1 or 2 vacant school buildings they received from the dissolved Buena Vista School District rather than sell them to charter school interests. Stay tuned!

There’s Still Time to Apply for State Superintendent Position
The official search for a new Superintendent of Public Instruction to replace the retiring Mike Flanagan is underway. The State Board of Education has hired Ray and Associates to manage the search process. The application deadline is February 19, 2015, with final interviews likely in mid-March. Initial salary is set at $200,000, and interested candidates can click here to learn more about the position and apply online.

Education Reform News Clips

GLEP in the News

Next Week

Monday, February 9

  • GLEP Board Meeting, Grand Rapids

Tuesday, February 10

  • Introductory meetings with new legislators

Wednesday, February 11

  • Governor Snyder presents FY ’16 Executive Budget Recommendation
  • Introductory meetings with new legislators

Thursday, February 12

  • Introductory meetings with new legislators

Friday, February 13

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