This Week & Next (Jan 30, 2015)

School Choice Week Success!
The Great Lakes Education Project, in partnership with the Mackinac Center, and the Michigan Association of Public School Academies hosted a National School Choice Week event on January 27th at the Capitol.  In addition to screening the short documentary “The Ticket: The Many Faces of School Choice,” we heard from special guests like film producer Bob Bowdon; and State Senator Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), Chair of the Senate Education Committee; and State Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit), Member of the House Education Committee. Students from a variety of charter public schools were in the Capitol to perform artistic routines and demonstrate the uniqueness of their schools.

Senate Republicans Support Top GLEP Priorities
On Wednesday this week, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekoff announced the legislative priorities for their caucus. In terms of education issues, the key priorities include improving early literacy, a new A-F letter grading system for school accountability – all of which are top priorities for GLEP.  Click here to read GLEP’s key policy priorities for the 2015-2016 legislative session. 

Equity, Equity Everywhere
In the early weeks of the legislative session, a number of lawmakers have introduced measures to address the funding equity gap in K-12 public education.  It is a top GLEP priority to reduce the nearly $1,000 gap between the Minimum and Basic per-pupil foundation grant, so we’re pleased this much attention is being focused on this issue.  Measures introduced so far include the following:

  • SJR D (Jones, Horn, Booher), a constitutional amendment to put the question of implementing a flat rate across the board for per-pupil funding in every school district on the ballot.
  • HB 4043 (Johnson), a bill to revise the per-pupil funding formula so it provides greater equity.
  • HJR F (Barrett), a constitutional amendment to put the question of implementing a flat rate across the board for per-pupil funding in every school district on the ballot.

It is important to note these measures only address the foundation grant intended to cover basic operational costs, while there remains nearly $5 billion in additional funding is available to address at-risk, special education and other targeted needs for students. The proposed School Aid Budget will be presented by Governor Snyder on February 11 and the Senate School Aid Subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Geoff Hansen (R-Hart) and House School Aid Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) will then begin hearings.

MSU Report: Charter Opponents are Losing
Announcing a new report, released published by Michigan State University, outlines why opponents of charter public schools are putting forth losing arguments when compared to supporters of these innovate, independent public school options. This is good news for students and families! Go Green!! Click here to download the full report.

Will Congress Reauthorizes NCLB This Year?
The landmark “No Child Left Behind” federal education law was passed in 1999 and technically was to expire in 2000. Rather than pass a full reauthorization of this law back then, Congress has continued to extend the existing law and USED has offered waivers from NCLB to states, including Michigan. This has led to a patchwork of different regulations throughout the country. Many observers believe that 2015 will be the year that Congress will pass a new federal education law, and the question remains if President Obama will sign what is presented by Congress. Below are links to recent statements from the primary players in this debate.

Testing, Accountability and the New ESEA/NCLB
The debate over annual testing has taken center stage as Congress considers reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), or No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Assessments provide critical information for parents and legislators on student progress, but when does annual testing become over testing? And will it survive reauthorization? Click here to watch a recent event featuring Fordham’s Mike Petrilli and AEI’s Mike McShane on testing and accountability in the wake of last week’s Senate hearing on the new ESEA/NCLB.

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

Next Week

Monday, February 2

Tuesday, February 3

  • Introductory meetings with new legislators

Wednesday, February 4

  • Introductory meetings with new legislators
  • House Financial Liability Reform Committee is taking up HB 4059 (Rep. Hughes) a bill to allow double-dipping for retired public school employees re-hired by districts; 12 pm 327 HOB.

Thursday, February 5

  • Joint committee hearing of the House Education Committee; House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid; and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Education; 9:00 am, 354 Capitol Building

Friday, February 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