This Week & Next (Oct 28, 2016)

Database: Meet all 63 school board candidates, warts and all
To help Detroiters cast informed votes for board members in Detroit’s public schools, Bridge Magazine, the Detroit Free Press, Fox 2 Detroit and WDET Detroit Public Radio spent two months reviewing court documents, property records, voting histories, tax liens and other public records. Reporters also asked the 63 candidates to answer a questionnaire and to send in resumes. Among the findings:

  • 12 candidates filed bankruptcy
  • 14 candidates lost properties for failing to pay taxes or mortgages
  • 28 candidates were sued for unpaid bills and defaulted or agreed to make payments
  • None of the candidates appears to have a criminal record.

Use the searchable database to see the findings on each candidate, including their answers to questions about their priorities.

This Week & Next (Oct 21, 2016)

NAACP passes controversial charter moratorium
A controversial Oct. 15 resolution passed by the national board of the NAACP calling for a nationwide moratorium on public charter public schools has led many lawmakers and school-choice advocates to question whether the NAACP is more beholden to powerful lobbies supporting traditional public schools than to the African-American families the organization claims to represent. Response was strong and vocal from across the political spectrum and across the country. It’s not just here in Michigan, folks, but isn’t it frustrating that adult politics continues to get in the way of providing better opportunities for students?

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This Week & Next (Oct 14, 2016)

National media and ed reform leaders say NAACP charter moratorium is wrong
This week, a slew of national media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, published editorials opposing the NAACP’s proposed moratorium on charter public schools which is scheduled to be voted on at their national Board of Directors meeting in Cincinnati this weekend.  According to the NYT, “Sound research has shown that, when properly managed and overseen, well­ run charter schools give families a desperately needed alternative to inadequate traditional schools in poor urban neighborhoods.” We’re not aware of ANY newspapers that have editorialized in favor of the proposed moratorium.

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This Week & Next (Oct 7, 2016)

Governor Snyder signs K-3 Reading bill into law
Yesterday, GLEP was pleased to participate in the official bill signing ceremony with Governor Snyder for HB 4822 (Price), the K-3 Reading bill. This bill, which goes into effect in the 2017-18 school year, will require annual screenings, parental notification and engagement, personalized Reading Improvement Plans, along with interventions and support for struggling readers. The state has allocated $100 million per year in new funds last year and this year to address early literacy and support the interventions included in the new law. GLEP was one of the original stakeholder supporters of the K-3 reading bill, and we’re excited about what this reform will mean in terms of improved academic performance for thousands of students in Michigan.

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GLEP on Supreme Court decision to maintain private school funding

“This morning, the Michigan Supreme Court announced it was not going to issue an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of the $2.5 million in the 2017 School Aid Budget that reimburses private schools for the cost of compliance with state health and safety mandates. GLEP was among the many organizations that submitted amicus briefs supporting the argument that this funding doesn’t violate the constitution. By not issuing an advisory opinion, the court is saying this isn’t enough of a constitutional issue to earn their attention. The budget bill went into effect on October 1, and the private school funding will remain in effect unless overturned by a court. GLEP believes this decision is just another example of why the archaic ‘Blaine amendment’ language should be removed from the state constitution,” said Gary Naeyaert, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP).

Click here to download the Supreme Court order.
Click here to download GLEP’s amicus brief.



This Week & Next (Sept 30, 2016)

Attorney General says failing Detroit schools can be closed
On Wednesday, Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion confirming the state’s authority to close chronically-failing traditional and charter public schools. At the request of Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-Olive Twp) and House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mr. Pleasant), Schuette confirmed a clear reading of PA 192 that any public school included on the bottom performing 5% lists for 2014, 2015 and 2016 can and should be closed, unless such a closure would result in “undue hardship” for students because there aren’t any school options in the area. Attorney General opinions have the force of law

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GLEP on AG Opinion Re: Closing Chronically Failing Schools

Lansing, MI (September 28, 2016) — “Every child in Detroit is one step closer to a better academic future thanks to today’s opinion from Attorney General Bill Schuette confirming the state’s authority to close chronically-failing traditional and charter public schools,” said Gary Naeyaert, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP). “We agree with his clear reading of PA 192 that any public public school included on the bottom performing 5% lists for 2014, 2015 and 2016 should be closed,” Naeyaert continued. Continue reading

This Week & Next (Sept 23, 2016)

Legislature Passes K-3 Reading Bill
HB 4822, the K-3 Reading bill sponsored by Rep. Amanda Price (R-Lake Township) was passed (again) on Wednesday this week by both the full House of Representatives (60-47) and the State Senate (20-15), after a compromise bill was adopted by a joint conference committee on Tuesday evening on a 5-1 vote. GLEP has championed this bill since 2013 and strongly supported passage of this bill, which will now be presented to Governor Snyder for his expected signature. This bill will dramatically increase early reading proficiency in the state. Media coverage of this important bill was extensive, with key stories from the Detroit News, MLive, Gongwer, MIRS, and others.

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GLEP Applauds Passage of Early Literacy Bill

House and Senate approve (again) HB 4822, the K-3 reading bill

Lansing, MI (Sept 21, 2016)– Today the full State Senate and the House of Representatives voted to approve the joint conference committee report, on votes of 25-10 and 60-47, a compromise version of HB 4822, the K-3 reading bill sponsored by Rep. Amanda Price (R-Park Township), Chair of the House Education Committee.

“As the earliest proponent of improving early literacy, GLEP is pleased both the Senate and the House have voted (again) to pass HB 4822. This new law will improve early literacy by focusing on annual screening; parental notification and participation; targeted strategies and tutoring for struggling readers; and intensive intervention for students reading behind grade level,” said Gary Naeyaert, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP). Continue reading

This Week & Next (Sept 16, 2016)

Legislative leaders request Attorney General opinion on failing schools
Senator Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and House Speaker Kevin Cotter have officially requested a legal opinion from Attorney General Bill Schuette on whether the State Reform Office has the statutory authority to close chronically-failing schools in Detroit. Click here to download the official request. Needless to say, GLEP agrees the legislature only passed the $667 million “bailout” of DPS with the expectation that increased accountability would occur this year. House Speaker Kevin Cotter explained his view quite well on Michigan Radio this week. Meanwhile, Supt Brian Whiston has his own ideas how the state should work with failing schools, and it doesn’t include using the State Reform Office. That’s an interesting approach that would require significant changes in state law, of course.

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