This Week & Next (May 20, 2016)

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What’s up with DPS this week?
Again, despite the lack of formal legislative hearings in Lansing, there continues to be intense negotiations amongst key stakeholders behind the scenes on the pending DPS bailout legislation. Here are a few highlights from the past week:

  • It’s been rumored that Mayor Duggan is spending so much time in the Capitol that he’s been using Mayor Bernero’s private parking spot at Lansing City Hall.
  • Supports of school choice were very pleased when Speaker Cotter strongly asserted yesterday that the DEC should not be included in the DPS bailout package, since it undermines school choice.
  • The Detroit News editorial page urged the legislature not to prioritize DPS over kids.
  • Governor Snyder invited a few key House members to a private luncheon on Wednesday where he pushed them on the need for the DEC and to “fully fund” both DPS’ $515 operational debt and $200 million in transition costs for the new district.
  • Jim Barrett, GLEP chairman, penned a guest editorial viewpoint in the Detroit Free Pressthat confirmed the long history of financial and academic failure at Detroit Public Schools.
  • Steven Rhodes, Emergency Manager, met in public for an hour with current/elected DPS board members (in exile) where he indicated support a forensic audit of DPS, providing that DPS isn’t responsible to pay for it, of course.
  • A new public service announcement produced by the Mackinac Center asks Detroit parents what they think about the legislature trying to save DPS by limiting school choice and charter schools. Check it out below, and please share on social media!!

DPS “Cherry Picks” students in 20 schools
It’s a little known fact that 20 DPS schools require students wishing to enroll must score high enough on entrance exams, have a minimum GPA from their current school, include letters of recommendation or actually interview for the chance to attend. Each of the following schools are “selective” enrollment schools rather than “open” enrollment schools which accept all students who wish to enroll. Here are the DPS selective enrollment schools:

  1. Academy of the Americas — Language Proficiency Assessment
  2. Ann Arbor Trail Magnet School —2.5 GPA / Letters of Rec
  3. Bates Academy —3.2 GPA / Assessment / Letters of Rec
  4. Cass Tech High School —Assessment
  5. Chrysler Elementary —Assessment / Interview
  6. Clippert Academy —2.5 GPA / Letters of Rec
  7. Communication and Media Arts —Letters of Rec
  8. Davis Aerospace Technical High School —2.5 GPA / Letters of Rec
  9. Detroit Collegiate Prep High School at Northwestern —2.5 GPA / Letters of Rec
  10. Detroit School of Arts —Audition / 2.5 GPA / Letters of Rec
  11. Edward Duke Ellington Conservatory of Music and Art —2.5 GPA / Letters of Rec
  12. Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School — 2.5 GPA / Language Proficiency Assessment
  13. Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men — Interview
  14. Golightly Education Center —2.5 GPA
  15. Ludington Magnet Middle and Honors Academy —2.5 GPA / Assessment / Interview
  16. Marcus Garvey Academy — 2.5 GPA
  17. Mark Twain School for Scholars — 3.0 GPA / Assessment
  18. Renaissance High School — Assessment
  19. Robeson/Malcolm X Academy — 2.5 GPA / 3.2 GPA for 6-8 Honors
  20. Spain Elementary-Middle School — Letters of Rec

GLEP isn’t taking a position on whether or not traditional public schools should be able to “screen” out students and operate selective enrollment schools. But we think it’s important when comparing academic performance that it is clear which type of student body is being represented.

Check out the graph below and you’ll see that student proficiency on the 2015 M-STEP is considerably higher for students in DPS selective enrollment schools (28% in ELA; 15% in Math) than it is for students in DPS “open enrollment” schools (9% in ELA; 5% in Math). By comparison, charter public schools are required to practice OPEN enrollment, and the proficiency of charter schools in Detroit (19% in ELA; 8% in Math) dramatically exceeds their “apples to apples” counterparts in DPS. Just keeping it 100, as our friends say.

West Michigan teacher named state’s best
Congratulations to Tracy Horodyski, a reading interventionist and literacy coach at Zinser Elementary in Kenowa Hills Public Schools in Kent County, who was named this morning as the 2016-17 Michigan Teacher of the Year. “Tracy is an extraordinary representative of our Michigan teachers and the positive impact they make on our schoolchildren.  She is a living, breathing model of best practices, especially when it comes to child literacy,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. Whiston noted that child literacy is an area of focus for himself, Gov. Rick Snyder, the Michigan Department of Education, the State Board of Education and state lawmakers. AND GLEP!!!

New Report: Michigan students sliding fast toward the bottom
The Detroit Free Press just highlighted a new report from the Education Trust-Midwest that confirms the poor academic performance of Michigan students. According to the report, Michigan has fallen from 28th in 2003 to 41st in 2015 in 4th grade reading proficiency, and we’re one of the very few states to actually lower our reading proficiency percentage in the past decade. Just more reason to support passage of HB 4822 (Price), the K-3 reading bill currently in a House-Senate conference committee.

GLEP candidate questionnaire available online
All 110 members of the State House of Representative are up for election this fall, and there are 40 open seats in what will be a high-turnout Presidential year election cycle. If you know someone running for State Representative this year, click here to access the GLEP candidate questionnaire. Candidates are only considered for endorsement by GLEP if they return ur questionnaire.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday, May 23

Tuesday, May 24

  • Senate Education Committee
  • 1:1 meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform

Wednesday, May 25

  • 1:1 meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform

Thursday, May 26

  • House Education Committee
  • Capital Issues Forum at SBAM (Bill Ballenger on 2016 Election)
  • 1:1 meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform

Friday, May 27

Do you support what GLEP is doing to improve education in Michigan? Please considermaking a donation to help us continue our efforts, and all contributions are very much appreciated!!

Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director