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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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.”

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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:

Senate

  • 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)

House

  • 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