This Week & Next (Sept 23, 2016)

Legislature Passes K-3 Reading Bill
HB 4822, the K-3 Reading bill sponsored by Rep. Amanda Price (R-Lake Township) was passed (again) on Wednesday this week by both the full House of Representatives (60-47) and the State Senate (20-15), after a compromise bill was adopted by a joint conference committee on Tuesday evening on a 5-1 vote. GLEP has championed this bill since 2013 and strongly supported passage of this bill, which will now be presented to Governor Snyder for his expected signature. This bill will dramatically increase early reading proficiency in the state. Media coverage of this important bill was extensive, with key stories from the Detroit News, MLive, Gongwer, MIRS, and others.

What is an Education Savings Account (ESA)?
Want to learn more about Education Savings Accounts, which are the most popular type of education reform currently being implemented in the country? ESAs allow parents to receive a deposit of public education funds into government-authorized savings accounts with restricted, but multiple, uses. Those funds—often distributed to families via debit card—can cover traditional public education, private school tuition and fees, online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education expenses and other approved customized learning services and materials. To learn more, hear from a panel of experts during a recent education reform summit presentation hosted by ExcelinEd. You can also read more about ESAs from Matthew Ladner, who refers to ESAs as the way of the future in education. We couldn’t agree more, and plan to bring this debate to Michigan!!

Where do Clinton and Trump stand on education reform?
As we prepare for the first of what could be game-changing Presidential debates on Monday, September 26, PBS is showing us where Clinton and Trump stand on education issues. To go even deeper, EdWeek ran a piece this week on where the two major candidates stand on school vouchers, the common core and free college tuition. With the election getting tighter and tighter, concerned voters need to know where these two stand on key education issues.

Black leaders push back on NAACP’s proposed charter ban
A coalition of more than 160 black education leaders on Wednesday called for the NAACP’s national board to reconsider a proposed resolution that calls for a moratorium on charter school growth across the country. The coalition asked to meet with the civil rights group about the resolution before NAACP board members formally vote in mid-October. Organized by the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the coalition argues in a publicly released letter that halting charter school growth would limit black students to their local schools, which often struggle in the poor neighborhoods where charters excel. On a similar note the daughter of the plaintiff in the famous Brown vs. Board of Education case has asked the NAACP to drop their call for a charter ban. We live in interesting times, for sure.

Want to be a school superintendent when you grow up?
We keep hearing how poorly Michigan is funding our schools, but there’s one group of education stakeholders that seem to be immune from this peril. According to updated research from The Mackinac Center, you can access a database that includes the estimated total compensation and current contract for every public school district superintendent in Michigan, based on data provided directly by school districts and intermediate school districts. Did you know that more than 100 local Superintendents currently earn more than $200,000 per year, and some superintendents are actually paid for up to 6 months a year in sick time and vacations!! Not bad work if you can get it, right?

Detroit Achievement Academy gets lots of love from Amazon
It is hard to not be cheerful when you walk into the Detroit Achievement Academy (DAA on the northwest side of Detroit. It’s bright hallways, colorful walls and clean environment stands in stark contrast to the physical condition of many schools you may have seen on the news in the city today. Daily Detroit was invited to see the work that had been done with help from Amazon Local Love program, and the results are impressive. First up, it’s not very often you see a mural from renowned artist Ouizi on the walls of a school. Click here to read the full story.

NCSI Art Contest Asks Students to Dream Big!!
The National Charter School Institute is hosting the 2016 Charter Schools Art Contest, and this year they’re asking students in to illustrate what they’d like to be when they grow up. A scientist? A musician? An athlete? A doctor? President of the United States? Students are asked to create a picture of what they want to do when they’re older and send it to the NCSI for a chance to win $250! The contest is open to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students can use crayons, pencils, paint, chalk—whatever material they want—to show where they see themselves in the future. Entries are being accepted until October 31 and winners will be announced the week of December 12. Prizes will be awarded for the first, second, and third place winners. A special prize will also be given to the whole classroom with the most and best entries. Click here for all of the contest details.

Education Reform News Clips

Next Week (no legislative session)

Monday, September 26

  • 1st Presidential Debate with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Tuesday, September 27

Wednesday, September 28

Thursday, September 29

  • ESSA External Advisory Committee Meeting at MDE

Friday, September 30

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