Whitmer Slashes Funding for Most Students in Detroit, Boosts Funding for Wealthy, Suburban Schools

Whitmer Slashes Funding for Most Students in Detroit, Boosts Funding for Wealthy, Suburban Schools

Governor Cuts $240 Per-Pupil from Students in Schools Serving Minority Students, Students Receiving Free and Reduced-Price Lunch

LANSING—Great Lakes Education Project Executive Director Beth DeShone today blasted Governor Gretchen Whitmer for callously slashing $240 in annual per-pupil funding for the majority of students in the City of Detroit, and schools that disproportionately serve minority students and students from low-income families.

Whitmer’s attack on minority students and their public school teachers came late last evening through a line item veto of K-12 per pupil funding for public school students.

“Governor Whitmer wielded her veto pen as a vicious weapon against kids in Detroit and the public school teachers who dedicate their lives to educate them,” said DeShone.  “There’s no need to mince words.  The Governor has callously and specifically attacked minority students, learners from low-income families, and public school kids in Detroit and urban neighborhoods.”

While cutting funding for minority, urban, and low-income public school students, Whitmer approved funding increases for students in high-income suburban schools.

53 percent of students in Detroit attend public charter schools.  75 percent of students in public charter schools qualify for federal lunch subsidies, compared to less than half of students in traditional public schools.


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.”


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.


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 Calls for Closure of 38 Chronically-Failing Schools

Putting students first – and state law – requires closure or restructuring for schools on the “Bottom 5%” list for three consecutive years

Lansing, MI – The Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) today called for closure of 38 chronically-failing public schools in the state, each of which has been in the lowest performing 5% of all public schools for 2014, 2015 and 2016. The state’s “Top to Bottom” ranking for 2016 was released by the Michigan Department of Education on Friday.

This list includes 25 schools in Detroit (16 DPS, 8 EAA and 1 charter) and 13 outstate schools (12 traditional public and 1 charter). 12 of the 38 schools have been on the lowest-performing 5% list each year since it was created in 2010. Continue reading