This Week & Next (Aug 14, 2015)

USED Approves MDE Waiver on Failing Schools
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education approved MDE’s waiver application for certain elements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The waiver request primarily focused on state intervention in the poorest performing schools, and we’ve yet to digest the details in this 700-page document (go ahead, download it, we dare you!!). But assuming we can get through this document without falling asleep, we’ll have additional details and commentary next week.
GLEP on Making Michigan a Top Ten State
On Tuesday, 9 education stakeholder groups were invited to make presentations to Superintendent Brian Whiston and the State Board of Education on how to make Michigan a “Top Ten State” for education performance. GLEP was pleased to share our recommendations, which focused on shared Vision; expanded Choice; improved Quality and increased Accountability. Other groups will make presentations to the SBE on Tuesday, September 8.
New Hampshire Education Summit on Wednesday
Set your calendar for next Wednesday, August 19, for the 2015 New Hampshire Education Summit! Thus full-day event – co-hosted by the American Federation for Children and The 74 Million – will feature the following GOP Presidential candidates talking about education issues: Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich and Chris Christie. Click here for more information, and you can watch the entire summit live at
Education Funding Study Moving ForwardThree firms have submitted bids in response to the RFP issued by DTMB for an education funding study. The firms bidding on the study are Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, the Anderson Economic Group and Cross & Joftus, and the goal of the study is to determine precisely how much money it costs to make students academically proficient.  Our fear is that special interest groups will use results of this “study” to file lawsuits demanding dramatic increases in state spending on K-12 education. It’s happened in other states, and Diane Ravitch even bragged in her blog this morning about what’s happening in Washington state, where their state Supreme Court is fining the government $100,000 per day until the legislature comes back into session and increases education funding based on results of a similar study done a few years ago. We believe this is the goal behind those who fought so hard for this type of study (former-Senator Ellen Lipton and former-Representative Brandon Dillon, both Democrats). In another thoughtful column today, Ingrid Jacques of the Detroit News provides some advice on how we can avoid that bad outcome.  The selected firm will be announced in a few weeks, and the contract officially begins on October 1, 2015. Stay tuned!!

Detroit Teacher Union Fires President; Conn Plans to Sue
Determining that Steve Conn, the narrowly-elected DFT President, is guilty of misconduct in office, the Executive Committee has fired him from his post, effective immediately. As one might expect, Mr. Conn is not going down without a fight and has pledged to sue the union to retain his position. Well, we hope this will keep the union leadership pretty busy and they won’t be as likely to mount any protests or strikes (“work stoppages”) as the new school year begins.  That’s good news for students!

Teacher Says “GOP Goons” Made Her Quit
Stephanie Keiles, a Plymouth-Canton teacher, is receiving national media attention for going public with her resignation, claiming that “Gov. Rick Snyder and his Republican goons took over Michigan and declared war on teachers,” forcing her to leave the profession. Yet the trouble is the primary assertions in her blog post, especially funding levels for the district and her own “frozen” salary (over $63K) simply aren’t true. Thanks to research conducted by Michigan Capitol Confidential, the truth can be told. We doubt that Diane Ravitch, the Washington Post and the Huntington Post care about the real facts here, but we wanted you to have them. Oh, and she hasn’t actually left the profession, she’s just left the traditional public education system for a teaching position in a private school.

Capitol Update
The Michigan legislature was not in session this week, and they are expected back next week. There may be news generating from inside and around the Capitol, but we haven’t been able to track anything down. We’ll keep looking.

Education News Clips

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Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director