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.

GLEP Announces Staff Expansion

Gary Naeyaert and Megan Danielson to join Beth DeShone at statewide advocacy organization aimed at supporting quality choices in public education

Lansing, MI – The Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) today announced a staff expansion as the organization broadens their impact on policy, legislation, communications and political campaigns in Michigan.

“Too many children are being failed by an education system badly in need of reform,” said Jim Barrett, GLEP Chairman and former President of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.  “With Gary and Megan joining Beth on our staff, we will work aggressively to help more kids access the quality education options they deserve,” he continued.

As of July 1, 2013, GLEP staff will include the following professionals:

  • Gary G. Naeyaert, Executive Director: Gary has been a legislative and communications advocate for thirty years, most recently at the Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at CMU and the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA).  Previously he worked at the Michigan Road Builders Association; the Michigan Department of Transportation; Creative Media, Inc.; and Marketing Resource Group. A 1983 graduate of James Madison College at MSU, Gary and his family live in Mason.
  • Megan Danielson, Finance Director: Megan spent 10 years at the Michigan Republican Party, most recently as Finance Director and coordinator of the annual Mackinac Conference. Her experience includes campaign finance, major donor programs and event management. A 2003 graduate of Hope College, Megan lives in Okemos.
  • Beth DeShone, Advocacy Director: Beth, who has been with GLEP since 2011, was previously a legislative staffer and/or campaign consultant for Dick DeVos for Governor; Dick Posthumus for Governor; the Michigan Republican Party; State Senators Michelle McManus, Bev Hammerstrom and Mat Dunaskiss.  A 1999 graduate of James Madison College at MSU, Beth and her family live in Laingsburg.

The GLEP Board of Directors consists of Jim Barrett, Betsy DeVos and Greg McNeilly.  Additional staff additions may be announced in the coming months.


Sen. Pavlov Supports Michigan Merit Curriculum

Senator Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), Chair of the Senate Education Committee, has published an excellent guest editorial viewpoint in support of the Michigan Merit Curriculum in yesterday’s Detroit Free Press.  Sen. Pavlov understands that high expectations and rigorous standards are just what our students need in order to compete in a 21st century global economy. Click here to download his column.

Gerson Slaps Conservatives on Common Core

Michael Gerson, op-ed columinist for The Washington Post, takes on conservatives who oppose the Common Core State Standards as ill-informed and off base.  Gerson is a Policy Fellow with the ONE Campaign, a visiting Fellow with the Center for Public Justice, and a former senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.  He served as a senior policy advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000-2006.  Please click here to read his editorial.

Michigan Common Core school standards face political headwinds in GOP

Tim Skubick, MLive, May 15, 2013 at 6:30 AM
“I’m concerned about control coming from the federal government.”

Many moons ago, the quality of education you got in a Michigan school was pretty much determined by your ZIP code. One in Bloomfield Hills brought decidedly better schooling than one in Ontonogan – no offense to the good folks up there.

Then lawmakers, fearing the courts might stick their judicial nose into this inequity, got off their behinds and labored to raise up the lower schools with more state aid while financially sitting on the really good schools until the others caught up. Continue reading