This Week & Next (Jan 29, 2016)

No hearings, but plenty of DPS talk
Hearings on SB 710 & 711 (Hansen), the DPS reform bills in the Government Operations Committee have yet to be scheduled, but we understand negotiations continue behind-the-scenes to determine both the level of support for the DPS bailout and looking for a funding beyond the School Aid Fund are a top priority. As of today, no members of the Senate have publicly announced their position on the bills. Here’s an interesting article quoting Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp), Chair of the House School Aid

Subcommittee, indicating that House Republicans are likely to give the Snyder/Hansen plan a fairly cool reception in the House, choosing instead to focus on reforms that help improve student learning. Again, GLEP continues to work with key legislators to ensure that any education reforms in Detroit will preserve school choice, keep parents in charge of their children’s education, and increase accountability over poor performing schools. Here is just some of the recent media focus on how school choice could be the answer to the DPS issue:

Judge Orders Hearing in Teacher “Sick-Outs”; House Also Introduces Strike Bills
District Judge Name has ordered a hearing on February 16 hearing in the lawsuit from DPS against the ringleaders who orchestrated the many teacher “sick-outs” that closed over 80 school buildings in Detroit, including disgraced former AFT President Steve Conn. GLEP will update you after the hearing.  In the meantime, on Wednesday Representatives Price, Kelly and Somerville, all of whom are on the House Education Committee, introduced bills (HB 5235; HB 5236; HB 5237) aimed at discouraging teacher sick-outs by providing tougher fines and penalties for teachers and unions involved. The bills will increase fines and may lead to loss of certification for teachers who organize and participate in these type of work stoppages, as well as punish unions that coordinate or encourage sick-outs. These bills are identical to the bills recently introduced in the State Senate.

Detroit Teachers Union Sues DPS
In a bizarre twist, and likely in response to the lawsuit filed by the DPS against the teachers union for illegal ‘sick-out’ strikes, yesterday the AFT filed a suit against DPS and Darnell Earley, the district’s Emergency Manager. The suit alleges that Detroit kids are being denied a “minimally adequate education” by the state’s largest school district, and it seeks to have Earley fired. We doubt anyone would argue about the poor education received in DPS schools, and GLEP views these lawsuits as further evidence that we need to dismantle the dysfunctional system that is not working for students and offer better educational options that put student learning first.

House Education Committee Takes Up PD and Privacy

The House Education Committee took testimony yesterday on SB 33 and SB 570, bills that tighten up processes related to student data privacy, as well as bills to address professional development for teachers in the state. No votes were held on the bills, and continued testimony is expected in future weeks.

Michigan Charter School Essay Contest Announced
The National Charter Schools Institute is proud to sponsor the 2016 Charter Schools Essay Contest. This year’s theme is: “What My Charter School Means to Me.” The contest is open to students in middle school and high school. Student are invited to tell their story and share what their charter school means to them. Is it a safe place with a great teacher that cares? Is it a special class or program? Is it being prepared for college and life? Entries are being accepted until April 1 and will be reviewed by a panel of qualified judges. Prizes will be awarded for the first, second, and third place winners in the middle school (grades 6-8), and high school (grades 9-12) divisions. First place winners of each division will be invited to Lansing for special recognition during National Charter Schools Week, May 2-6.

School Choice Week Wraps Up; AFC Survey Supports Choice
This past week was National School Choice Week 2016, which featured more than 16,140 events across America, making it the largest celebration of educational opportunity in U.S. history.  The American Federation of Children released their second annual national survey, which confirmed 70% of Americans support school choice issue. Check out this compelling column from Virginia Walden Ford, a DC mother and leader with BAEO, on how she first was involved in school choice to help her son.

U.S. House Education Committee to hold school choice hearing on February 3

At 10 am on Wednesday, February 3, the full U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing entitled, “Expanding Educational Opportunity through School Choice.” By empowering parents with a variety of educational options, school choice plays a vital role in helping children access a quality education. During Wednesday’s hearing, members will learn more about how states and communities are improving and expanding school choice, as well as discuss how federal policies can support these efforts.  Click here for more information and the live webcast.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday February 1

Tuesday February 2

Wednesday February 3

  • U.S. Education & Workforce Committee hearing on expanding school choice options
  • Joint Senate Education and School Aid Committees with Supt. Whiston on the topic of failing schools, accountability and ESSA

Thursday February 4

  • House Education Committee

Friday February 5

Do you support what GLEP is doing to improve education in Michigan? Please considermaking a donation to help us continue our efforts, and all contributions are very much appreciated!!


Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director