Governor Whitmer will fail students

Elimination of the state’s early literacy law will be a detriment to Michigan students

LANSING, MI – The Great Lakes Education Project Advocacy Director Beth DeShone today issued the following statement on Governor Whitmer’s call to eliminate the state’s 3rd grade reading law.

“Michigan’s Third Grade Reading law is an evidence-based policy that lifts Michigan’s students up to thrive. We owe it our children to give them the best and this starts with the skill of reading. Period. Governor Whitmer’s plan to eliminate reading intervention services for the students in Michigan who need them most is a slap in the face of Michigan children and their teachers. Instead of cutting support services that exist to help young students read, the Governor should demand the Michigan Department of Education work with local districts to ensure all aspects of the law are being followed – screenings, interventions, parental notification, individualized reading plans and, in the most difficult situations, possible retention in a different classroom. Studies prove students must learn to read by third grade so they can read to learn for the rest of their career. We cannot return to social promotion so that career politicians can coddle those who prioritize adult feelings over student needs.”


GLEP Endorses in 70 Races for 2018 House and Senate Districts

Leading education advocacy group makes campaign endorsements

Lansing, MI – The Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) today announced endorsements for candidates in 70 races for the Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate in 2018. This includes 34 incumbent endorsements.

“GLEP is pleased to support these champions for students.  It is not easy to run for public office and buck the status quo, but these candidates have shown that they will ensure the first priority in education is each individual Michigan student.  I look forward to working with each of them in the future,” said Beth DeShone, GLEP Advocacy Director.   Candidates and incumbents endorsed today by GLEP include the following:


  • District #2: Adam Hollier (Detroit)
  • District #7: Representative Laura Cox (Livonia)
  • District #8: Representative Peter Lucido (Shelby Twp.)
  • District #10: Mike MacDonald (Macomb)
  • District #12: Representative Jim Tedder (Clarkston)
  • District #15: Representative Jim Runestad (White Lake)
  • District #16: Senator Mike Shirkey (Clarklake)
  • District #19: Representative John Bizon (Battle Creek)
  • District #21: Representative Kim LaSata (St. Joseph)
  • District #22: Representative Lana Theis (Brighton)
  • District #24: Representative Tom Barrett (Charlotte)
  • District #25: Representative Dan Lauwers (Brockway)
  • District #28: Senator Peter MacGregor (Rockford)
  • District #29: Representative Chris Afendoulis (Grand Rapids)
  • District #30: Representative Daniela Garcia (Holland)
  • District #33: (Former Representative) Rick Outman (Six Lakes)
  • District #34: Representative Holly Hughes (Montague)
  • District #36: Senator Jim Stamas (Midland)
  • District #37: Senator Wayne Schmidt (Traverse City)
  • District #38: Mike Carey (Crystal Falls)


  • District #2: Willie Bell (Detroit)
  • District #3: John Cromer (Detroit)
  • District #17: Representative Joe Bellino (Monroe)
  • District #20: Representative Jeff Noble (Plymouth)
  • District #21: Darian Moore (Canton)
  • District #30: Representative Diana Farrington (Utica)
  • District #32: Representative Pamela Hornberger (Chesterfield Township)
  • District #36: Karen Potchynok-Lund (Shelby Twp.)
  • District #38: Representative Kathy Crawford (Novi)
  • District #41: Doug Tietz (Troy)
  • District #42: Ann Bollin (Brighton)
  • District #43: Andrea Schroeder (Clarkston)
  • District #45: Representative Michael Webber (Rochester Hills)
  • District #47: Representative Hank Vaupel (Fowlerville)
  • District #51: Mike Mueller (Linden)
  • District #52: Teri Aiuto (Chelsea)
  • District #56: Representative Jason Sheppard (Lambertville)
  • District #57: Representative Bronna Kahle (Adrian)
  • District #58: Representative Eric Leutheuser (Hillsdale)
  • District #61: Representative Brandt Iden (Kalamazoo)
  • District #62: Dave Morgan (Battle Creek)
  • District #64: Representative Julie Alexander (Hanover)
  • District #65: Sarah Lightner (Springport)
  • District #66: Representative Beth Griffin (Mattawan)
  • District #67: Leon Clark (Mason)
  • District #70: Representative James Lower (Cedar Lake)
  • District #73: Lynn Afendoulis (Grand Rapids)
  • District #74: Mark Huizenga (Walker)
  • District #77: Representative Tommy Brann (Wyoming)
  • District #78: Brad Paquette (Niles)
  • District #80: Representative Mary Whiteford (South Haven)
  • District #81: Kenneth Nicholl (Yale)
  • District #85: Representative Ben Frederick (Owosso)
  • District #86: Representative Thomas Albert (Lowell)
  • District #87: Representative Julie Calley (Portland)
  • District #89: Representative Jim Lilly (Park Township)
  • District #91: Greg VanWoerkom (Norton Shores)
  • District #94: Steven Gerhardt (Saginaw)
  • District #97: Representative Jason Wentworth (Evart)
  • District #98: Annette Glenn (Auburn)
  • District #99: Representative Roger Hauck (Mt. Pleasant)
  • District #100: Representative Scott VanSingel (Grant)
  • District #101: Jack O’Malley (Lake Ann)
  • District #102: Representative Michele Hoitenga (Manton)
  • District #103: Representative Daire Rendon (Lake City)
  • District #104: Representative Larry Inman (Williamsburg)
  • District #105: Representative Triston Cole (Mancelona)
  • District #106: Representative Sue Allor (Wolverine)
  • District #107: Representative Lee Chatfield (Levering)
  • District #108: Representative Beau LaFave (Iron Mountain)

“As GLEP Chairman, I have witnessed the positive impact of education policy that supports the unique learning needs of each individual student.  These endorsed candidates are examples of thought leaders that will promote a continued focus on student centered educational opportunities,” said Jim Barrett, GLEP Chairman.

GLEP’s endorsement process includes past voting records, personal interviews and results from a candidate survey. Priority issues for GLEP include school choice, accountability and early literacy, while endorsed candidates may hold various positions on K-12 funding, curriculum standards, assessments, etc.

This Week & Next (3/3/17)

Trump pushes school choice to Congress
On Tuesday, during his first formal address to Congress, President Trump (R) joined previous Presidents George W. Bush (R) and Barack Obama (D) when he identified education as the “civil rights issue of our time.He asked lawmakers to “pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious, or home school that is right for them.” While details are thin at this point in time, education stakeholders have been writing about various possibilities here, from directly funding a federal voucher program or creating a federal tax credit scholarship program, similar to what has been done in a dozen states. This will likely be the “cornerstone” education program of the Trump presidency, and we’ll have more details as they become available. President Trump and Secretary DeVos are also visiting a private school in Florida today. Continue reading

The Truth About Charter Schools and K-12 Education in Michigan

Remarks by GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert at the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy at Albion College | February 27, 2017

  • Despite $14 billion/year investment in K-12, academic performance is lacking
    • Less than 50% of students are proficient in any grade or any subject on M-STEP
    • Less than 20% of high school juniors are “college and career-ready” per ACT
    • One of few states where 4th Grade reading proficiency has DECLINED in 10 years

Continue reading

This Week & Next (02/24/17)

Governor Delays Action on Failing Schools
Yesterday, Governor Rick Synder put out a press release announcing that the State Reform Office, run by Natasha Baker, would be postponing until May any formal announcements about the fate of the 38 schools identified as chronically-failing.  The SRO was in the midst of a 30-45 day review period, where announcements were expected in early March. As a result of public pushback, and lawsuits against the state filed by Kalamazoo Public Schools and Saginaw Public Schools, the Governor would like the State Reform Office to work more closely with Superintendent Whiston and the MDE on researching and communicating various intervention options to local school districts. The Governor reiterated his understanding that absent closure, major restructuring and interventions will be needed in at least these particular schools.   Reaction to the Governor’s announcement was mixed, and GLEP continues to advocate that chronically failing schools must be replaced or closed. MLive has published an interactive map showing other school options nearby the 38 chronically-failing schools in the state. Continue reading

This Week & Next (2/17/17)

Legislative subcommittees start FY ’18 school aid budget work
Both the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on School Aid held initial hearings this week to discuss the Governor’s proposed $14.3 billion School Aid Budget for FY ’18.  As mentioned last week, some of the key issues in the proposed budget are:

  • Increasing the minimum foundation grant by $100 to $7,611 per pupil and increasing the basic foundation grant by $50 to $8,279 per pupil, reducing the funding equity gap to $668 per pupil through the 2x formula;

Continue reading

This Week & Next (2/10/17)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Takes the Helm
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted 51-50 to confirm Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. Education Secretary. All GOP members (except 2) voted YES and all DEM members vote NO, requiring Vice President Mike Pence to cast the deciding vote. The following are a few media stories and editorials from this past week: Continue reading

This Week & Next (Feb 3, 2017)

Betsy DeVos Confirmed by U.S. Senate HELP Committee
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. Education Secretary on a straight-party 12-11 vote. Having all GOP members vote YES and all DEM members vote NO continued the hyper-partisan nature of continued attacks from the left and those who oppose her support for school choice. Wednesday and this morning, the Senate cleared the way for a floor vote, which is likely to occur on Monday or Tuesday. The following are a few media stories and editorials from this past week: Continue reading