This Week & Next (Sept 25, 2015)

House Education Committee Passes K-3 Reading Bill
Yesterday, the House Education Committee passed HB 4822 (Price), the K-3 Reading bill, on a strong bipartisan vote of 13-3-1. Chairman Price presented an H-4 substitute version of the bill which included nearly 100 changes requested by members of the Committee. HB 4822 will improve early literacy by focusing on annual screening; parental notification and participation; targeted strategies for struggling readers; and intensive intervention for students reading dramatically behind grade level. Congratulations to Rep. Price and much thanks to those who supported the bill, which now goes to the floor of the House. Check out GLEP’s “Got Literacy” lan
ding page
where you can learn more and download the current version HB 4822.

 Colorado case could open up school choice across the country

Earlier this month the Douglas County School District Board asked the Supreme Court of the United States to review the Colorado Supreme Court’s June ruling that struck down the educational choice program based on the state’s Blaine Amendment provision in a 3-1-3 vote. The request will be decided next month, and this case could lead to removal of the obsolete anti-school choice provisions in 37 states, including Michigan. The Blaine Amendments are outdated 19th-century provisions that prohibit public funding from following students to private and Catholic schools. Public schools have long lost their Protestant origins, but these archaic laws are being used to strike down school choice programs outside their original intent. GLEP is following this case very closely, and we’ll report updates as they occur.

GLEP at SPN Meeting
Over one thousand public policy advocates will be gathering in Grand Rapids next week for the 23rd Annual Meeting of the State Policy Network (SPN). SPN members include conservative think tanks and policy shops from across the country, including the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, The Goldwater Institute, the Thomas Fordham Institute and the Reason Foundation.  Our own Mackinac Center for Public Policy is serving as the host organization for this year’s event. GLEP will be well represented at this meeting, where a number of sessions on school choice, accountability and other key policy issues will be held. Notable speakers include Arthur Brooks from the American Enterprise Institute and Betsy DeVos, AFC Chair and GLEP Board Member.

AFC releases 2015 Legislative Impact Report
The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, has just released “Progress: 2015 Legislative Impact Report.” The annual publication highlights the progress made by AFC and the school choice movement at large. This year’s highlights include seven new programs enacted and four new school choice states, resulting in 48 parental choice programs in 23 states and Washington, D.C. Of course, Michigan is not (yet) included in this list. “2015 was one of the best years ever for parents as legislators and governors around the country responded to the demands of parents for greater education choice and innovation in K-12 education,” said Betsy DeVos, AFC.Click here to download the full Legislative Impact Report and click here to read the Washington Examiner article about the report.

Union staff earn $3 million for not working
According to Michigan Capital Confidential, the practice is called “release time,” and numerous school districts across the state do it. The arrangement allows union officials, typically the president of the union local, to be carried on the school district’s payroll but spend all or part of their time working on union business rather than teaching or carrying out other school functions. Taxpayers are on the hook for the expense and the direct cost to taxpayers statewide is at least $3 million annually. Good work if you can get it, right?!

VoteSpotter App is a Great Resource
Want to know how your State Senator or Representative voted on education bills? Want to know how they voted on education reform issues or bills impacting school choice and charter school bills? Then you need VoteSpotter, a FREE Mobile App designed to help keep your legislators accountable. Not only will this app help you find out how they voted, but it also helps you to connect instantly with their office so that your voice can be heard. All this is done right on your smartphone with a few clicks. VoteSpotter is a powerful tool that will help you not only stay connected in Lansing and Washington, but also allows you to share their votes on social media to keep your family and friends aware of what is happening. Take a minute to check out the website and download VoteSpotter at the app store on your phone.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday, September 28

  • Senator Marty Knollenberg Fundraiser in Bloomfield Hills

Tuesday September 29

  • Senate Education Committee
  • Coalition to Save DPS Lobby Day in Lansing
  • State Policy Network Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids

Wednesday, September 30

  • State Policy Network Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids

Thursday, October 1

  • House Education Committee
  • State Policy Network Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids
  • AFC Reception during SPN meeting in Grand Rapids

Friday, October 2

  • State Policy Network Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids

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