New State Superintendent Takes Job, Up to 3 Off-Days Per Week

At GLEP, we are fighting to give students innovative options in the classroom, our great public school teachers the resources they need, and voters the accountability from state policymakers they deserve.

To that end, we hope you’ll join us raising the alarm as the state Department of Education welcomes a new Superintendent – Michael Rice – with a contract granting him up to 3 paid days off per week between now and the end of the year.
 
We’re holding the Department accountable to deliver A-F grades for Michigan schools to every parent in the state, as well. Students head back to school in just a few weeks.  We’re committed to ensuring Lansing delivers them the best possible education.
/campaigns/sitesapi/files/images/648799522/BethDeShoneSignature_sm.pngBeth DeShone
Executive Director, Great Lakes Education Project
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“The Michigan Department of Education may choose to create confusion because the federal plan requires some different information, but there is no reason that should stop them from providing that information in a more transparent fashion for parents.”
 
“Our students bring home report cards each year so parents can monitor their progress. Families deserve the same level of transparency and accountability from their children’s schools.”
 
“People tend not to think about back-to-school shopping as an event like Christmas or Black Friday, but it is by far bigger than the winter holidays,” Mark Mathews, vice president of research development and industry analysis for the National Retail Federation, told MLive in an interview.”
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State Board Gives Incoming Superintendent 66 Paid Days Off in 2019, Almost 6 Times Number Given Most Public School Teachers

Michael Rice last week became the state’s new Superintendent of public education, and the state Board of Education welcomed him with a gold-plated pay and benefits package big enough that if invested differently, could hire six (6!) new public school teachers.

 
Most outrageous?  The $216,000 annual contract offered by State Board of Education Chair Casandra Ulbrich immediately gives Mr. Rice 36 days of sick leave and 30 days of vacation time.  Under the contract, Rice could work as few as 2 days per week between August 1st – his first day on the job – and the end of the year.
 
According to an analysis by the Thomas Fordham Institute, teachers get on average about 12 combined sick and personal days per year, less than one-fifth the amount given Rice before he spends a single hour on the job.
 
Michael Rice’s gold-plated pay and benefits package is a slap in the face to public school teachers and students across the state, and he should give it back. 
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Michigan parents are expected to spend nearly $700 over the next month as they prepare their students to head back to school.  Parents invest in our schools and they invest in our teachers, because they deserve it.
 
Rice’s contract tells teachers and administrators where the State Board of Education’s priorities really lie – and that from the start they have no real plan to hold the Superintendent accountable. (It’d be hard to hold any employee accountable when you give him 3 paid off-days per week.)
 
The state could hire 6 new teachers, complete with benefits for what the Board of Education is spending to butter up the next Superintendent.  The Board is unprepared and ill-equipped to do the right thing, but Michael Rice still has that opportunity.  Rice can prove to teachers they really matter to him by refusing the Board’s plan to make him rich on the backs of Michigan students.
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Contact the state Board of Education today and ask them to reverse course on the Superintendent’s outrageous, gold-plated benefits package.
You go out of your way to fully invest in your child’s education. The Board should not divert hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay an employee it only expects to work 2 days per week.


Incoming Superintendent Michael Rice Should Refuse, Return Gold-Plated Benefits Package

GLEP: Incoming Superintendent Michael Rice Should Refuse, Return Gold-Plated Benefits Package

State Board Offers Rice 66 Paid Days Off in 2019, More than 5 Times Number Given Most Public School Teachers

LANSING—Great Lakes Education Project Executive Director Beth DeShone today demanded incoming state Superintendent Michael Rice refuse a gold-plated benefits package offered by the state Board of Education that is set to give him more than 5 times the amount of paid vacation time and sick leave as the average public school teacher, and 6 times the pay, all before he has worked a single day on the job.

Rice’s contract, offered by State Board of Education Chair Casandra Ulbrich, immediately gives him 36 days of sick leave and 30 days of vacation time.  Rice’s contract details were first reported by MIRS.[1]

Under the contract, Rice could work as few as 2 days per week between August 1st – his first day on the job – and the end of the year.

According to an analysis by the Thomas Fordham Institute, teachers get on average about 12 combined sick and personal days per year[2], less than one-fifth the amount given Rice before he spends a single hour on the job.

Rice will also be paid $216,000 per year, more than any other state Department Director, and 6 times as much as the average first-year public school teacher in the state.

“Michael Rice’s gold-plated pay and benefits package is a slap in the face to public school teachers and students across the state, and he should give it back,” said Beth DeShone, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project.  “The state could hire 6 new teachers, complete with benefits for what the Board of Education is spending to butter up the next Superintendent.  The Board is unprepared and ill-equipped to do the right thing, but Michael Rice still has that opportunity.  Rice can prove to teachers they really matter to him by refusing the Board’s plan to make him rich on the backs of Michigan students.”

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Welcome to ChangeEd

Welcome to changeEd, the new regular newsletter of the Great Lakes Education Project. At GLEP, we are laser focused on delivering results for Michigan students. That means innovating at the state Capitol and in school districts across Michigan to boost student performance, innovate in the classroom to meet the unique needs of our kids, in addition to supporting great local public charter schools and the certified public school teachers who innovate every day to support Michigan’s kids.

/campaigns/sitesapi/files/images/648799522/BethDeShoneSignature_sm.pngBeth DeShone
Executive Director, Great Lakes Education Project
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“Regardless of how much more we spend on top of the nearly $15 billion we already do, my advice is to stop funding systems and begin funding children. Directly.”
 
“A closer look suggests that Hecker’s example illustrates why public charter schools are needed in the city with the nation’s worst urban school district.”
 
“Overall, teachers in Michigan are well paid.The state’s average teacher salary, which was adjusted to the cost of living, is the ninth highest in the country.”
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Foot Dragging at Michigan Department of Education Means Parents May Not See Report Cards
 
Last winter, the legislature approved an innovative reform that would empower students, parents and teachers by giving every public school in the state letter grades – A, B, C, D or F – in five key areas. The grades are to be based around student proficiency and growth in reading and math, and are set to go into effect in the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.
 
The first school report card is required by law to head home to parents this September!
 
The Michigan Department of Education is required by law to develop by August 1 the system for assigning and delivering the grades. That’s just weeks away, but the Department is dragging its feet. The law says parents should expect their school’s grades in September, but without urgent action in Lansing, parents may not see them.
 
Parents and reformers across Michigan are demanding the Department comply with state law, and provide parents with the transparency they deserve.  As lawmakers work through the summer, we’re encouraging them to hold the Department accountable, as well.
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Our students bring home report cards each year so parents can monitor their progress.  Parents deserve the same level of transparency and accountability from their children’s schools.  Unfortunately, some schools are failing our students in reading and math, but empowering parents with more information will drive improvement across the state.  Parents deserve transparency.  They deserve A-F school report cards.
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Contact your lawmaker today and ask them to hold the Michigan Department of Education accountable, and to ensure parents receive report cards this September!

 

 

Tell lawmakers: Parents deserve A-F school report cards.  Ensure the Department of Education complies with state law and provides parents with school performance transparency!


Parents are counting on A-F School Grades, state must deliver

This column originally appeared in the Midland Daily News.

While lawmakers wrap up their summers, they and their staffs are constructing the reforms and priorities that will dominate their discussions once they return to Lansing.

Ensuring parents get report cards from their kids’ schools — a school transparency requirement under the state’s critical new A-F grading system for schools — should top their list. Lawmakers’ action is needed, because the state’s Department of Education is only days away from violating state law and abdicating its requirements for accountability to families.

Last winter, the Legislature approved critical reforms that would empower students, families and teachers by giving every public school in the state letter grades — A, B, C, D or F — in five key areas. The grades are to be based around student proficiency and growth in reading and math, and are set to go into effect in the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

The first school report card is required by law to head home to parents just over a month from now.

Our students bring home report cards each year so parents can monitor their progress. Families deserve the same level of transparency and accountability from their children’s schools. Unfortunately, many of our schools are failing our students in critical subject areas like reading and math, but empowering parents with more information will drive improvement across the state. Where schools are succeeding, they deserve the credit.

That’s why lawmakers last December approved a new reform to hold the state’s schools as accountable to parents as our schools hold students for their work.

It’s an innovative approach to school accountability, and it’s designed to foster transparency and spur local growth. Parents count on our schools to prepare their kids for college, careers, and a brighter future. They also pay for the privilege, pumping thousands of dollars per pupil each year into our public schools.

Families deserve to know how their schools are performing.

The truth is, we’ve all got our work cut out for us. According to the National Assessment for Education Progress, Michigan ranks 35th in the nation on fourth-grade reading and 38th on 4th grade math. The numbers aren’t much better in 8th grade, where the state ranks 33rd in math and 30th in reading. Michigan is last among Midwest states in every category. Improvement can only begin with an understanding of how each school performs for our kids.

It is important to understand that this isn’t just a problem in our urban or economically disadvantaged communities. This is a problem across Michigan, including our “good” suburban school districts. Parents deserve the truth about school performance and with that information can demand better results for their students.

Each year, the state has pumped millions more into the school aid fund. USA Today recently ranked Michigan as one of the top states in America to teach, with public school teachers the 9th highest paid in the nation.

That investment is great, and more may be needed, but parents deserve to know what it’s producing. School report cards are a critical new transparency tool to empower parents and spur growth, but now at the eleventh hour, the Michigan Department of Education is standing in the way.

The Department is required by law to develop the system for assigning and delivering the grades by Aug. 1, a month ahead of their due date to parents. That deadline is only days away, and thus far, the Department has dragged its feet. Without quick action, parents will be kept in the dark.

Parents and reformers across Michigan are demanding the Department comply with state law, and provide parents with the transparency they deserve. As lawmakers work through the summer, we’re encouraging them to hold the Department accountable, as well.

Beth DeShone is the executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project

Appalling: State Board of Education Blocks $47 Million Obama-Era Grant for Public School Text Books, Classroom Equipment, School Programs

Board Votes to Block Funds Already Secured by Michigan Department of Ed, Approved by State Lawmakers

LANSING—In an appalling attack on Michigan teachers and their students, the Michigan State Board of Education last week voted to block a $47-plus million federal grant for Michigan public schools designed to provide new text books, classroom equipment and supplies, curriculum materials, and program design in many Michigan public schools.

The new five-year grant, which would pump $14 million worth of supplies, books, and programming into Michigan public charter school classrooms for the first school year alone, is part of an Obama-era grant under the Every Student Succeeds Act, and was secured last year by the Michigan Department of Education.

The State Board of Education blocked the grant after learning the funds were designed under former President Barack Obama to provide supplies specifically to public charter schools to expand opportunities for all students, particularly traditionally underserved students, to meet challenging state academic standards.

Public charter schools are one-hundred percent tuition free Michigan public schools, are open to every student, and are led in every classroom by highly qualified, state certified public school teachers.

“The Board of Education’s callous decision to block federal funds for text books and classroom supplies for many of the Michigan public school students who need them most is an attack on students, an attack on parents, and an attack on Michigan public school teachers,” said Beth DeShone Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project.  “The Board is holding public school teachers and their classrooms hostage because they dislike an Obama-era grant designed to help underserved public school students.  They should be ashamed, they should reverse course immediately, and they should stop standing between public school teachers and millions of dollars’ worth of text books and classroom supplies.”

For more information about the $47,222,222 public school grant from the U.S. Department of Education being brazenly blocked by the Michigan State Board of Education, please visit Michigan.gov.

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