Over 100 voters came out to meet 17 candidates in 10 campaigns for State Senate and State House of Representatives at our Meet the Candidate night and Education Town Hall this past Tuesday at Madison-Carver Academy in Detroit. This was a great opportunity for voters to hear firsthand about the education policy priorities of candidates in crowded primary elections. Please click here to see video messages from a number of participating candidates on GLEP’s YouTube channel (shout out to MAPSA’s Buddy Moorehouse for the fine video work here!).In addition to thanking our host facility (Cornerstone Charter Schools), GLEP would like to thank our event cosponsors: Students First-MI; Detroit Regional Chamber; Detroit Parent Network; Excellent Schools Detroit; MAPSA; MCCSA and the Education Trust-Midwest. We’re looking to do a similar event in the fall.
National Watchdog Group Says Schauer is Wrong on School Funding
Mark Schauer, Democratic candidate for Governor, has been running primarily on the accusation that Governor Snyder and the Republican legislature has “cut billions” of state funds for K-12 education. However, a national non-profit watchdog group, FactCheck.Org, confirms in their investigate report that Schauer and the Democrats are merely playing politics with education funding since their claims are unsubstantiated.To provide further clarity here, GLEP has launched a new website to provide education advocates, parents, policy makers and the news media with the facts about school funding in the state. MiKidFirst.com includes “to the penny” allocations for 800+ school districts with data from 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.
Response Swift and Definitive to Detroit Free Press “Hatchet Job” on Charter Schools
In the wake of the recent 8-day series of stories from the Detroit Free Press on the state’s charter school movement (which we think should be reported as an independent expenditure for Mark Schauer and the Democratic Party), check out these cogent responses from Richard Ziele, a member of the State Board of Education, in the Freep, and Greg McNeilly in Bridge Magazine. At the same time, Superintendent Flanagan announced this week he will be using his power under state law to suspend charter authorizers he believes aren’t doing the right job; and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville has announced that he’ll seek legislation to tighten up on charter schools.
We sincerely welcome Superintendent Flanagan’s newfound zeal for providing quality options in public education!! We hope he’s willing to look at all public schools if he’s serious about enhancing quality education. If so, GLEP strongly suggests the following initial steps:
- Any focus on quality academics should start by suspending operations for MDE’s own list of the 20 “worst of the worst” schools (each in the bottom 5% of T2B list for all four years);
- Any focus on financial responsibility should start by suspending operations of the 15 districts running the largest illegal deficits (or all 50 deficit districts); and
- Flanagan should endorse passage of HB 5112, which creates a level playing field of school accountability for ALL public schools, including closure of the poorest performing schools.
Fewer Michigan Graduates are College and Career-Ready, According to ACT
While boasting of modest proficiency increases in some subjects, the MDE released results this week from the most recent MME testing given to all high school juniors. What they didn’t brag about was the fact that only 17.8% of students are deemed “college and career ready” by the ACT, which is down from 2013. GLEP agrees with Ingrid Jacques’ recent column in The Detroit News about the mediocre results we’re getting in public education. We are convinced we can, and we must, do more to improve academic outcomes for Michigan students.
Schauer’s Education Plan: A Closer Look
Mark Schauer, Democratic candidate for Governor, has recently released his plan and priorities that help us understand how public education would fare under a Schauer Administration. The document reads like the MEA “wish list” of priorities, including a halt to charter public schools. Please click here to download the Schauer Education Plan.
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. So far, NOT A SINGLE superintendent has signed the pledge to operate under a performance contract that says they’ll be shut down if they fail to operate to a level satisfactory; accept any student in the state, no matter where they live; not to hire anyone that has a defined family relationship with a school board member; subject every contract for approval by the State Board of Education; pay 3% of total state aid to the State Board of Education for oversight purposes; and be automatically closed if the school is on the bottom 5 percent of the top-to-bottom list for four straight years.
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