This Week & Next (Mar 4, 2016)

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DPS reform bills debated (at length) in the House Appropriations Committee
The full House Appropriations Committee held two additional hearings last week focusing on the “Putting Students First” 6-bill package of Detroit education reform bills. Testifying in Wednesday morning’s hearing was John Walsh, Strategy Director for Governor Snyder, and Tonya Allen and John Rakolta, Co-Chairs of the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, and Rick Joseph, Michigan Teacher of the Year. Walsh, Allen and Rakolta
continued to push for a centralized command and control system to “manage” school choice in the city, with what we believe is a goal to guarantee sufficient enrollment in the “new” traditional school district to keep it afloat. In last Wednesday’s afternoon hearing, GLEP, Veronica Conforme, EAA Chancellor; Dan Quisenberry from MAPSA, and the Michigan Association of School Boards were up to speak. GLEP testified about the history of DPS failure and how the House bills would improve student outcomes in Detroit. GLEP also pushed for the key academic reforms in these bills be implemented in all schools across the state. Click here to download our presentation, and click on the picture below for a videotape of our testimony. The Appropriations Committee will hold another DPS hearing on Monday at 10 am, Wednesday at 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, or 15 minutes after session.

House Education and MDE subcommittees work on FY ’17 School Aid Budget                        
On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the House and Senate School Aid Subcommittees continued hearing presentations from various stakeholders at it relates to Governor Snyder’s proposed $14 billion School Aid Budget for the state in FY 2016-17. The School Aid Subcommittee heard from Natasha Baker, State Reform Officer, on state efforts with failing schools; and the topic at the MDE subcommittee escapes me.

Governor Names Judge Stephen Rhodes as DPS Transitional Manager
Earlier this week, Governor Snyder formally announced that retired federal judge Stephen Rhodes has become the new Transitional Manager (or Emergency Manager) for Detroit Public Schools, effective immediately. Judge Rhodes is expected to fill the balance of Darnell Earley’s term, which is set to end on July 1. Rhodes played a key role in the City of Detroit bankruptcy process, and given the lack of progress on passing a $715 million bailout for DPS, you have to wonder if Rhodes’ experience as a bankruptcy judge is setting the table for what’s next for DPS.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday, March 7

  • House Appropriations Committee re: DPS bills, 10:00 am

Tuesday, March 8

  • House School Aid Subcommittee, 10:30 am
  • Senate Education Committee, re: HB 4822 (K-3 Reading), 12 pm
  • Senate Government Operations Committee re: DPS bills, 1:30 pm

Wednesday, March 9

  • Senate School Aid Subcommittee, 8:30 am
  • House Appropriations Committee re: DPS bills, 8:15 am & 3 pm
  • House MDE Subcommittee, 10:30 am

Thursday, March 10

  • House Education Committee, 9 am

Friday, March 11

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