This Week & Next (Nov 21, 2014)

GLEP at National Ed Reform Summit
Since Wednesday afternoon, GLEP’s Betsy DeVos, Greg McNeilly, Gary Naeyaert and Cody Bailey have been in Washington, D.C. attending the 2014 National Summit on Education Reform, hosted by the Foundation for Excellence in Education. This is been an outstanding opportunity to hear from key speakers, including former Governor Jeb Bush, Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein; to learn about key issues in education reform; and to network with activists and office-holders from all over the country.
Shout out to Students First and the Council of Authorizers for co-hosting our reception for Michigan attendees on Wednesday night. We were very pleased that the following key legislators and policymakers were able to participate in this year’s Summit: Sen. Phil Pavlov, Chair of the Senate Education Committee; Rep. Tim Kelly; Rep-Elect Daniela Garcia; Rep-Elect Lee Chatfield; Eileen Weiser, State Board of Education; Paul Pastorek and Tyler Sawher, Office of Governor Snyder; Marty Ackley and Wendy Larvick; MDE; and Matthew Schueller, House GOP Education Policy Advisor. Click here to access video archives of all keynote and strategy session speakers.

The 2014 Election and Education Reform
Now that the hanging chads have all settled and it looks like there won’t be any recounts, it’s safe to say that students, parents and school choice advocates did very well on election day in Michigan and around the country.  We get a helpful reminder from the Center for Education Reform that newly elected legislators need to separate fact from fiction on charter schools. A guest viewpoint published this week in The Detroit News makes the case that Michigan voters trust parents to make educational choices for their children.
Funding Debate Gaining Steam
Have you ever wondered how much it really costs to educate a child? Most of the folks in the traditional school world are convinced that all we need is to spend more money and our education system would deliver better results. Just this week, Principal Kevin Polston wrote a guest op-ed that called for more equity in per-pupil funding.  For those of us who aren’t constantly clamoring for MORE MONEY, our priority is to invest the funds we have more equitably. Click here to read GLEP’s proposal to invest $8,250 per student in basic, operational funding and up to $14,250 per student for at-risk students in the state – all without a tax increase!!
Student Testing Update
In addition to MDE’s announcement last week to introduce M-STEP for 2015, it’s important to note that the issue of student testing continues to be in flux.  M-STEP replaces the 44-year-old MEAP test, but only for 2015. MDE has received proposals from a number of vendors for the student assessment that will be used in 2016 and beyond, with an announcement coming in early 2015. As we move forward with standardized tests that are aligned with Michigan’s college and career-ready standards, Michigan Public Radio just ran an interesting feature story on the future of testing in the state, while Education Week produced a very good story on cut scores for tests under these high standards. GLEP continues to advocate that Michigan maintain rigorous standards and that we utilize testing assessments that measures individual student growth. Doing so will not only prepare our students for academic success, but it will provide the data necessary for school accountability and teacher evaluation.


A plan for Detroit Schools?
A report released this week by Excellent Schools Detroit suggests that K-12 education in Detroit would benefit from a common enrollment system for all traditional public, charter public, and EAA schools in the city. A comprehensive analysis from Robin Lake at the Center for Reinventing Public Education looks at the specific plight of education in Detroit in the latest issue of Education Next. An article in today’s Detroit News also looks at the Governor’s plan for education in Detroit, giving the pending expiration of Jack Martin’s term as Emergency Manager at Detroit Public Schools. While this will certainly be a very hot issue in the coming months, GLEP believes we need to focus on creating a system of schools to address the needs of students in Detroit, especially as the self-inflicted implosion of the Detroit Public Schools reaches its logical conclusion.

Teacher Quality: The Next Hurdle
We’re making progress (but not yet over the goal line) on some key education reform issues in Michigan, such as supporting “full choice” for all students and families; maintaining rigorous standards; implementing next-generation testing; improving early literacy; and developing a parent-friendly school accountability system. On top of these needed reforms,  teacher quality has become one of the key issues facing the state.

Using evidence from more than 500 colleges and universities producing nearly half of the nation’s new teachers annually, a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality answers two questions that go to the heart of whether the demands of teacher preparation are well matched to the demands of the classroom: Are teacher candidates graded too easily, misleading them about their readiness to teach? Are teacher preparation programs providing sufficiently rigorous training, or does the approach to training drive higher grades?

You might also want to check out the following articles:

Education Reform News Clips

GLEP in the News

Next Week

Monday, November 24

Tuesday, November 25

  • GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert to speak at Kellogg Community College

Wednesday, November 26

Thursday, November 27

  • Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 28

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