This Week & Next (Jan 24, 2014)

On Wednesday, Jan 22 the House Education Committee took testimony on HB 5223 (O’Brien) and HB 53224 (Zemke), bills to create a Teacher & administrator evaluation process. We expect weeks of testimony on these bills, and we believe the Committee should be concerned these bills don’t reverse the hard-fought teacher tenure reforms passed in 2011 and that it doesn’t handcuff the state into a particular student testing assessment.

On the school funding front, the Mackinac Center released a study confirming that 65% of traditional school districts are privatizing at least one non-instructional service (transportation, janitorial, food service, etc); the Lansing School District decided yesterday NOT to contract bus services – which would have saved taxpayers $5 million; and the Pontiac Public Schools have been granted an unprecedented 10 years to eliminate their $52 million debt.

Next week is “National School Choice Week”, and GLEP is pleased to be participating in an event hosted by Mackinac Center and the Michigan Opportunity Society to preview the new documentary “The Ticket” on January 30 in southeast Michigan; and feel free to plug into a January 30 webinar on school choice.

As it relates to expanding school choice through vouchers, check out what’s happening as policy leaders debate this issue in a variety of states; and ICYMI, here’s a link to a recent guest viewpoint from State Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) in the Detroit Free Press.

On the national scene, EdWeek is taking an extensive look at the U.S. “War on Poverty” in a new series, (spoiler alert: Poverty is winning!!); voters in Utah believe that increasing 3rd grade reading proficiency is the #1 issue facing the legislature; and meet a rock star charter school teacher in Tallahassee, Florida.

As they say, we live in interesting times. Let’s keep putting kids first!!

As always, please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

GGN (signature)