This Week & Next (Aug 28, 2015)

GLEP Launches “Got Literacy” campaign
Check out GLEP’s “Got Literacy” landing page where you can learn more and download HB 4822 (Price), the K-3 Reading bill.  We’ll be rolling out a series of “real life” examples in social media that highlight the literacy crisis in public education. Rep. Price’s bill will improve early literacy by focusing on annual screening; parental notification and participation; targeted strategies and tutoring for struggling readers; and intensive intervention for those students reading dramatically behind grade level.   We understand the House Education Committee will have a formal hearing on this bill during their meeting on Thursday, September 10 in Lansing. Rep. Price has also introduced HB 4823, a bill requiring new teachers to learn how to teach reading instruction. GLEP strongly supports both bills.
More on MDE Waiver re: Failing Schools
The U.S. Department of Education recently 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 MDE will be using Priority, Focus and Reward designations every 3 years, instead of annually. This means MDE will not be identifying any more failing schools until 2017. Click here for a brief overview memo from MDE on the waiver and its impact on school accountability.
New Orleans in the 10 Years since Katrina
It’s been ten years since Hurricane Katrina devastated much of New Orleans in the state of Louisiana. There have been a host of media stories recently that look at how K-12 education here has been reformed and improved in the past decade. Most importantly, while only 54 percent of New Orleans’ high school students were graduating before the storm, 73 percent of students are graduating today. Here are a few of the more comprehensive stories:

Education Policy Rock Star Needed at the Mackinac Center
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan-based public policy research and educational institute which has been at the forefront of nationally recognized education reforms in the state, is seeking a Director of Education Policy to help improve the quality of elementary and secondary education in Michigan. This full-time position involves researching, developing, and promoting reforms that 1) free public schools from needless state and federal government bureaucracy; 2) foster respect for the teaching profession; 3) create greater incentives for schools to respect parents and students as customers; 4) create greater incentives for continuous quality improvement, parental involvement, and efficient use of resources; 5) explore how educational choice can provide greater access to a quality education for all families, especially those in lower socioeconomic levels. And they work very closely with GLEP!! Click here for more information or to apply for the position.

CER Releases Updated Parent Power Index – Michigan Ranks #13
The Center for Education Reform (CER) has released their Parent Power Index 2015, which provides detailed state-by-state information about School Choice, Charter Schools, Online Learning, Teacher Quality and Transparency. As for Michigan, which ranks #13, CER says “One of the Blaine Amendment states, Michigan is prohibited from offering private school choices funded by public appropriations, but it makes up for that a bit with its robust charter law, which is expansive and responsive to consumers. A high number of digital learning opportunities and good teacher quality measures keep districts on their toes. And now, failing school districts are seeking and finding new partners to manage their schools. All of these developments are plusses for parents.” GLEP is working on additional reforms that will make Michigan a “Top Ten” state where parent power is concerned.

Lottery Money and School Aid
Kudos to Kyle Feldscher, Education Reporter for MLive, for producing this short video report on the relationship between the state lottery and public education funding in the state. Few realize that lottery proceeds contribute only 6.5% of the $13.9 Billion invested in K-12 funding per year. On a personal note, we wish Kyle the best of luck as he leaves Michigan to begin a new position with The Washington Examiner in D.C. You’ll be missed, Kyle!

Education News Clips

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Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director