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

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;

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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

This Week & Next (Jan 27, 2017)

Betsy DeVos Confirmation Vote on Tuesday
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee has scheduled a confirmation vote for Betsy DeVos to become the next U.S. Education Secretary at 10:00 am in Tuesday, January 31. You can click here to watch the hearing live. As has been the case since she was nominated, this remains a bitter, hyper-partisan process with continued attacks from the left and the teachers unions who oppose Betsy’s support for school choice. The following are a few media stories and editorials from this past week: Continue reading

This Week & Next (Jan 20, 2017)

Betsy DeVos Pushes School Choice in Confirmation Hearing
We hope you had the chance to watch Betsy DeVos’ 3-hour confirmation hearing before the Senate HELP Committee on Tuesday evening. You can download her prepared remarks here. We think Betsy did extremely well, especially given the hyper-partisan nature of the hearing and continued attacks from the left who oppose her support for school choice. The following are a few media stories and editorials from this past week: Continue reading