This Week & Next (Jan 23, 2015)

Governor Backs 3rd Grade Reading Initiative
During his 5thState of the State” address on Tuesday, Governor Rick Snyder announced his support for developing legislation to create a statewide framework aimed at improving early literacy as measured by 3rd grade reading proficiency. Citing the fact that only 70% of Michigan’s 3rd grade students are reading at grade level, the Governor announced creation of a study commission to examine best practices from other states to inform legislation to address this critical issue. GLEP has been leading a coalition of interest groups and legislators working on this issue since 2013, and we appreciate the gubernatorial nudge here. The Governor also indicated support for enhancing career technical education and creation of an academic and financial scorecard for schools in his annual address. Stay tuned for additional details in the coming weeks!

School Choice Week is Here!
The Great Lakes Education Project in partnership with the Mackinac Center, the Michigan Association of Public School Academies and National School Choice Week are hosting a celebratory event on January 27 at the Capitol in Lansing from 11 am to 1 pm.  Today nearly one in five Michigan students will use education choice to attend a public school other than the one assigned by their zip code, through Charter Schools and Schools of Choice. We will be screening the short documentary “The Ticket: The Many Faces of School Choice,” and hearing from special guests like film producer Bob Bowdon, State Senator Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), Chair of the Senate Education Committee, andState Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit), Member of the House Education Committee. This FREE event will take place in the South Hallway of the Capitol. Check-in begins at 10:30 am. Click here to register to attend this event.

More American’s Support School Choice
The American Federation for Children (AFC), the nation’s voice for educational choice, just released findings of anew national poll showing that nearly 70 percent of Americans support school choice. The poll comes on the eve of National School Choice Week and one year before the first votes are cast in the 2016 Presidential race. Five key findings from poll:

  • 69 percent support the concept of school choice, including 45 percent who strongly support it, while 27 percent oppose it.
  • 63 percent support private school choice, when those surveyed were asked if they support “opportunity scholarships, also known as school vouchers.”
  • 76 percent support public charter schools, with only 20 percent opposing it.
  • 54 percent of those surveyed believe that giving parents more choices of schools will improve the education system.
  • 65 percent believe choice and competition among schools improves education.
  • 62 percent believe we need to make major changes to the ways that public schools are run.

Detroit Coalition Expands Their Ranks; Gets Deadline from Governor
The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren just announced an expansion of their steering committee from 31 to 35 leaders, in addition to dozens of folks added to their various subcommittees looking at Academics, Governance, etc.  Based on a strong request from Governor Snyder, the coalition is expected to produce recommendations for improving public education in Detroit no later than March 30, 2015.  GLEP believes all children in the state – not just in Detroit – deserve access to educational choices that provide quality, transparency and accountability. We’re watching with great interest the recommendations from this coalition, and we hope we don’t simply hear more of the same about preserving adult interests.

There’s Still Time to Apply for State Superintendent Position
The official search for a new Superintendent of Public Instruction to replace the retiring Mike Flanagan is underway. The State Board of Education has hired Ray and Associates to manage the search process. The application deadline is February 19, 2015, with final interviews likely in mid-March. Initial salary is set at $200,000, and interested candidates can click here to learn more about the position and apply online.

Education Reform News Clips

Next Week

Monday, January 26

Tuesday, January 27

  • Michigan School Choice Week events; 10:30 am, Capitol Building
  • Introductory meetings with new legislators

Wednesday, January 28

  • Introductory meetings with new legislators

Thursday, January 29

  • House Education Committee (Organizational Meeting); 9:00 am, 521 HOB
  • Introductory meetings with new legislators
  • AEI’s Arthur Brooks event, Acton Institute, Grand Rapids

Friday, January 30


Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director